WEEKLY WEB WATCH: WWW - E-mail is a cost efficient way to send press releases, but keep your eye on the real target

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.

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

unusual.



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

inappropriately.



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

represent.



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

inappropriate.



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

do.



Stovin Hayter is editor of Revolution. All relevant e-mails should be

sent to stovin@ revolution.haynet.com.



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