Readers of this blog know that I get hundreds of unsolicited press releases and PR pitches every week. I'm on a bunch of lists because of this blog, my books, and the magazines I write for. Ugh.
I've said before that almost all the crap I get from PR agencies is spam: A broadcast email message sent to a huge number of journalists with the hope that some poor sucker on deadline and will give in and write.
- No, I do not want to buy Viag*ra.
- No, I do not care one bit about the press release announcing version 3.1 (beta) of your flexible, scalable, mission-critical, next generation product.
- No I do not want to share in the $20,000,000 (twenty million US dollars only) that your now dead husband, the former oil minister of Nigeria, had stashed away.
- No, I will not talk to the CEO of your client who has graciously made time next Thursday to speak to reporters about the company’s new initiatives in the dog food business.
[Editorial note: If you have something to say to me personally, great. Please send it. My email is public. You can also reach me on Facebook or Twitter. I do write about things sent to me in my books and on this blog. But it needs to be an idea that you send just to me. Please don’t spam me.]
OK, so let's get to what may be the dumbest PR person in the world...
Yesterday I get a press release sent via email. It's typical – some technology product that is so obscure and inconsequential that nobody, not even Geekster Weekly News would care about.
1. The subject line of the email reads: "News Release: [XYZ Company] enhances line of [blah blah]"
2. The email starts out: "[XYZ Company] is pleased to announce…"
3. Then there is a bunch of jargon-laden, hype-driven nonsense.
4. The sender then says: "Feel free to contact me if you would like more information or images to supplement this story."
5. Then the entire poorly written, gobbledygook-filled press release is pasted into the email.
So far, the release follows the standard (but ineffective) old-school PR agency playbook.
But then this is at the end of the email:
"PRIVILEGED & CONFIDENTIAL- WITHOUT PREJUDICE. Confidentiality Message. This e-mail message is confidential, may be privileged and is intended for the exclusive use of the addressee. Any other person is strictly prohibited from disclosing, distributing or reproducing it. If the addressee cannot be reached or is unknown to you, please inform the sender by return e-mail immediately and delete this e-mail message and destroy all copies. Thank you."
Here's some PR spam that has obviously been sent to thousands of journalists (because I got it and I have never once written about this stuff I know it is spam). But the sender says that the recipient of the spam email cannot disclose it. Huh?
You invade my email box with your crap.
You send an identical message to thousands of others.
You want me to write about your stuff.
Then you say that I cannot disclose the information because it is confidential and sent just to me?