It’s a cheap shot, I know, but it’s too good to pass up as an illustration of the need for a bare minimum of research by PR folk before they hit the send button on mass emails to reporters.
I’m not going to name names here, but a ‘leading global communications consultancy’ has just invited the Far Eastern Economic Review, the publication I used to write for, to a media briefing to meet a software company which wants to, the email I’ve just received says, “meet the local media for the first time since the recent opening of the company’s Asia-Pacific Headquarters”.
The problem is, as you all know, that the Far Eastern Economic Review has since last October ceased to exist as a reporting publication and is now a monthly collection of essays about the region written by contributors and put together by a hardworking staff of three. It certainly no longer covers media briefings by tech companies. And it certainly no longer carries my column (which many might say is a good thing.)
Sadly, this merely confirms to me that when the old FEER died, not everybody took as much notice as we employees might have thought. Anyway, I was told by friends to end these PR tirades on a practical and positive note, so here’s a tip to the few PR people who don’t do it already: Check the reporter you’re pitching to (or sending an unsolicited email to):
- works for a company or publication that still exists;
- doesn’t have a blog and take an impish delight in drawing attention to your rare missteps;
- er, that’s it.
For my part I promise not to mention names.
As a PR professional, all I can say is, on behalf of my industry, I apologize. We are pretty stupid!
With an experienced and wise hand like Ed chipping in with a comment here, I guess I should point out that the case I cite here is a rare one, and I should acknowledge that
a) most PR people do a good job of their homework, and keep their databases fresh;
b) we journalists aren’t much different; how many of us keep an updated list of what PR company is working with which client, or make a note of changes of address from PR companies, or requests for updates on our movements and beats when they send them?
c) I just wanted to use the email as an example to raise a point, not suggest this happens all the time. Oh, I said that already.