One of the most obvious uses of the Internet for PR pros is to distribute press releases. There are very few journalists who are not online. And the costs of sending a press release electronically are tiny compared to physically mailing them. But my own experience at the receiving end of e-mailed press releases has prompted me to indulge in a bit of a rant.
One of the most obvious uses of the Internet for PR pros is to
distribute press releases. There are very few journalists who are not
online. And the costs of sending a press release electronically are tiny
compared to physically mailing them. But my own experience at the
receiving end of e-mailed press releases has prompted me to indulge in a
bit of a rant.
I believe in the power and usefulness of the Internet. E-mail alone has
enabled me to become vastly more productive in my work. I try to use the
Net to conduct as much of my business as I can, and I encourage others
to do the same.
Not all journalists are as keen as I on e-mail, however, especially
unsolicited e-mail. Carl Dombek of MMC PR in Sacramento, CA, recently
started experimenting with sending press releases by e-mail to news
outlets and individual reporters, and he reports: ’The reaction among
members of the news media is mixed.
Some reporters ... will ONLY accept e-mailed news releases. Others ...
have sent replies directing me (in varying degrees of politeness) to
take their e-mail address off my list.’ Carl’s experience can’t be that
And lately I have also begun to wonder whether I can continue to live by
my principles. The reason is the sheer volume of e-mail I receive.
The vast majority is press releases, and most of those are completely
inappropriate for me. With many of them, it is apparent from the first
line that whoever sent it has never bothered to open a copy of the
magazine I edit.
It’s not e-mail itself that’s at fault but the people who send it
E-mail magnifies some of the worst habits of lax PR pros. It is now way
too easy to just carpet bomb the media with press releases. What is
supposed to be useful has become an imposition that will backfire not
only on the PR pros sending it, but also on the clients they
I now cherry-pick my e-mail, reading only the ones from people I know or
that I am expecting, or where the subject line indicates an obvious
relevance. There are a few PR people whose e-mails I delete immediately
when I see their name in the ’From’ list. The same goes for certain
companies in the subject line. The rest just gets ignored and I
regularly do a bulk deletion of old, unread e-mail.
I’m not suggesting that all e-mailed press releases are
It’s just that the people who don’t try to keep their emails directed
and appropriate are making life much more difficult for those who
Stovin Hayter is editor of Revolution. All relevant e-mails should be
sent to stovin@ revolution.haynet.com.