DANGER: Using digital PR tactics to hype digital expertise

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Worst Practices  |  Press Release Content  |  Public Relations  |  Case Studies  |  Media Relations

UPDATE: Craig Kallin, Senior Vice President of Marketing Services for Acsys Interactive commented on the blog post. Thanks, Craig.

Using digital communications tools (such as an emailed press release pitch) to hype how wonderful your organization is at digital communications is fraught with danger.

I've written about this before in my post Creating a Social Media Monster about Lady Gaga’s digital agency of record.

Yesterday I received a press release via email from a representative of Acsys Interactive, "a Connecticut-based firm specializing in digital media consulting."

The subject line of the email shouted in nearly all caps: New Survey: MARKETERS ANTICIPATE 400 PERCENT INCREASE IN USE OF DIGITAL MEDIA.

The body of the pitch contained the text of the press release which can be found here.


A press release sent via email to talk about the use of digital media by marketers? And in all capital letters? Why not use digital media to talk about this instead of an emailed press release?

Normally I just let this kind of thing pass without notice. Delete the email. No harm done.

But this time I wanted to talk about it because the email itself was sent with a major flaw that no self-proclaimed "expert" should ever make. The email was addressed to 219 people all in the "To" field.

In other words, all 200+ email addresses of the members of the media that this so-called digital media consulting firm pitched were exposed for all to see. There is no other way to describe this than the worst form of email spam. Not only am I sent an unsolicited email from a company I do not know from a list I did not opt-in to, but anyone on the "to" list could see the other email addresses and potentially harvest them.

If you're a self-proclaimed expert, you need to show it.

Yes, mistakes happen. It is likely this error was made because the release was sent in haste or a junior person was assigned to send the release and nobody explained to the representative how to use email correctly to send a press release. We all make mistakes. Like the time I tweeted an unauthorized offer and had to scramble for a full day to stop the damage. I certainly do understand that errors occur. It's likely that Acsys Interactive is a good firm that simply made an error.

Lesson learned

You need to be very, very careful touting your digital media chops using traditional and digital forms of communications. Everything you do reflects on your level of expertise.

In fact, this advice is true of any person or company. Whatever your expertise, you need to be extra careful how you promote it.

People naturally say: "How good can they be if they can't even do it for themselves?"