Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief at Wired and author of The Long Tail (and the blog of the same title), has issued a strong rebuke for PR types who send indiscriminate email in hopes of gaining some media attention.
They’ve gotten Anderson’s attention. Now he’s blocking them.
Lazy flacks send press releases to the Editor in Chief of Wired because they can’t be bothered to find out who on my staff, if anyone, might actually be interested in what they’re pitching. Fact: I am an actual person, not a team assigned to read press releases and distribute them to the right editors and writers (that’s firstname.lastname@example.org).
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).
Everything else gets banned on first abuse.
Anderson’s post underscores the importance of knowing which story ideas to pitch to which journalists, the importance for PR folks to research the interests of the journalists they’re trying to reach, and the importance of knowing the rules for submitting ideas to certain media outlets. (Obviously, if you think you’ve got a story that Wired would pick up, the editor-in-chief is not the person to email.) PR blogger Jeremy Pepper saw Anderson’s post as a teachable moment and created a nice slide show to help his fellow flacks better understand the nature of social media.
But there’s a sideshow to this cautionary tale that has my mind spinning. In his post, Anderson also listed the email addresses of all the PR folks who are now blocked. That list resulted in some bizarre unintended consequences, as described in his Nov. 1 post. Some PR companies used the opportunity to email clients of people on the list to try to get them to switch firms. It’s turned into an all-out catfight between a couple of PR shops.
Whew! Makes me glad that I’ve got a gig in higher ed.
Now playing: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – Something’s Changed