Sorry Steve Rubel, but you’re on the wrong track on this one

I missed Steve Rubel’s post on Tuesday on ‘Does the Thrill of the Chase Make PR Obsolete?‘, but picked up on it today via e-consultancy. Steve writes a compellingly convincing post, but I’m more than doubtful that it reflects the reality.

Like Steve I get a lot of pitches from PR companies (large and small), start-ups and big companies. And Steve’s right, most of them are so terrible it’s hard to know where to start saying how bad they are. Like Steve I ignore 99% of them.

But where I differ, is that I do really appreciate the good ones. Unlike Steve I don’t have time to ‘find it on my own or stumble upon it early myself.’ I therefore appreciate a PR person who takes the trouble to target me personally and let me know about something that might be of genuine interest.

However it’s all very well me giving my anecdote and Steve giving his, but they are just our personal opinions and preferences. Steve’s opinion is: ‘Many bloggers – particularly those who cover tech – love to discover new things and experience them on their own.’

Well for a current client project we’re currently doing some research with tech bloggers and the results so far show that contrary to Steve’s opinion the majority of tech bloggers DO want us to talk directly to them.

It goes to show that it is worth asking rather than assuming you know. My instinct would probably have been to do less direct contact than we’re now thinking of doing.

That’s not the same as spamming bloggers with pointless press releases. But, we shouldn’t be spamming journalists with pointless press releases either.

Knowing something about the person and/or media you’re emailing or phoning is just standard best PR practice and common courtesy that hasn’t changed since I entered public relations 20 years ago.

Unfortunately too many PR people fail to grasp this basic concept.

It’s also worth reading Drew Benvie’s post on ‘How digital PR is changing’.


About Stuart Bruce

International communications consultant and PR trainer specialising in online public affairs, digital corporate communications, online PR and social media; frequent national media commentator and conference speaker.
  • http://doughaslam.com Doug Haslam

    Steve,

    Right-on post! A much-needed dollop of common sense, with a little research (gasp!) added to opinion. thanks!

    the thing I'm taking from all of these various PR-related posts over the last couple of weeks is that the opinion in each piece works for the author, but doesn't really apply anywhere else. (Yes, I'm over-generalizing. Adjust your brains accordingly).

  • http://www.simonwakeman.com Simon Wakeman

    Stuart – I'm with you – good, well thought out and researched pitches are appreciated with me.

    I don't have the time to discover new stuff as much as I'd like, so relevant stuff sent to me is good.

    Doug – and yes, the point that it's a very personal thing is completely valid – any public is full of individuals, and in PR practice we tend to generalise and assume one public comprises people who are all the same, when in reality of course they're not. Bloggers, like journalists, are all different and see things from their own personal point of view.

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  • http://www.craig-mcgill.com Craig McGill

    Stuart, fair points raised there, but I think for a lot of PR types, it's not a case of being rude and impersonal deliberately but that they have so many publications to target that they don't have the time to send out personalised invites or do a bit of research on people.

    For example, since taking up a new position, I've been lurking on a lot of blogger sites that talk about matters relevant to my clients, next up I'll post the odd reply and then down the line, where relevant, I'll get in touch, but that's adding considerably to my day and, so it's not interfering with other work, something I'm doing in my own hours.

  • http://www.akapr.typepad.com AKA PR

    While I realise that you mentioned people shouldn't make assumptions, I feel that without PR, journalists would find themselves working a lot harder to get a story ready for a tight deadline.

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