Somehow I got on some spam lists that public relations firms use to promote their clients. Apparently, blogging about scams and ripoffs means that they think I want a zillion emails about their clients who are most definitely not peddling ripoffs and scams. [/snark]
So on a daily basis, my inbox is littered with press releases and emails telling me how so-and-so is available for commentary on issue X, which they just know my readers are concerned about. Or there was a fabulous new non-scammy service available for consumers who want to avoid scams…
Even better than unwanted press releases and email solicitations? Two or three from the same PR firm about the same topic, but from different employees there. As if that’s not annoying. I’ve tried asking nicely for them to stop emailing me. Now I’m not so nice anymore, and it still doesn’t help. What does it take to get these PR freaks to back off?
Oh, and please don’t comment that I should send them to my spam folder. I realize that’s an option. I also think that these freaks should police themselves and not send out so much spam, especially if people have told them they don’t want it.
Fortunately, I’m not alone in my hatred for PR “professionals” who harass bloggers. Mike Masnick at Techdirt says he made it clear from the start that he didn’t want any press releases. But either PR people can’t be bothered to read his rules, or they blatantly disregard them. And of course, plenty of the press releases received at Techdirt aren’t even about topics they cover!
Mike makes an excellent point in his rant: Most PR people don’t have the slightest idea how to interact with bloggers in a way that actually gets them any results. It’s far too easy to carbon copy every email address they’ve ever gotten their hands on. Trying to build meaningful relationships with bloggers would actually take more effort than the three clicks it takes to send an email to a jillion people (most of whom don’t even want the email).
And check out this guy who says bloggers have a duty to accept press releases. What does he not get about the fact that I don’t want to receive press releases? And that those who send them to me ruin their chances of me writing about their topic. With each press release they send, they move further away from the possibility of me writing about them.
Let’s be clear about this, too… It’s no secret that these press releases are a complete one-way street. You want a blogger to give you air time, and in return…. Well. You’ll ask for more air time in the future. Those aren’t relationships, my friend.
Blogs are different than the old media, and if PR professionals want to be successful for their clients, they need to figure out a way to work with the new media.
Bloggers aren’t interested in blowing smoke for your clients just because you want them to. If you want advertising, go pay for it. If you want bloggers to write about your clients and give them some exposure, figure out the right way to make that happen. Press releases aren’t cutting it.