At every one of my speeches, I say PR people are spammers. That gets everyone's attention so I have an opportunity to explain what I mean.
I get several hundred unsolicited press releases and PR pitches every week. Well over 99% of them are not targeted to me, instead they are sent to me because I am on various PR people’s lists because of this blog, because of my books, and because I am a contributing editor to EContent Magazine and have written for a bunch of other publications. I’m getting the identical piece of spam email as hundreds of other poor journalists.
To paraphrase the Wikipedia entry, spam is sending email that is both unsolicited by the recipient and sent in substantively identical form to many recipients.
Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine and author of The Long Tail recently lamented that he gets 300 emails a day and he’s had it. So he's blocked PR people and has published a list of those blocked on his blog.
Chris says: "So fair warning: I only want two kinds of email: those from people I know, and those from people who have taken the time to find out what I'm interested in and composed a note meant to appeal to that (I love those emails; indeed, that's why my email address is public)."
I couldn't agree more.
At my speaking gigs, after I get people's attention by saying PR people are spammers and describe the worst practices, I also offer ideas how to be successful with the media:
> Read our blogs.
> Comment on our blogs.
> Read our books.
> Read our publications (or watch & listen to our TV & radio shows).
> Attend our speaking gigs.
> Publish your own blog.
> Send well-crafted, personal email telling us something that is interesting and helpful.
I kind of like the idea of blocking the PR people who spam and naming names on this blog...