When asked the question, “What annoys you about press releases?” Yahoo! Finance’s Rick Newman said, “The ones sent to me 2, 3 4 times, as if I’ll be more likely to respond; sending irrelevant material multiple times doesn’t make it any more relevant.”
Look, there are a lot of things reporters and PRs hate about each other. And while both sides are prone to some thinness of the epidermis, Newman absolutely has a point here. As a PR person, it’s bad enough to send a reporter a bad, irrelevant press release; it’s absolutely unforgivable to keep bombarding him (or her) with the same crappy, useless press release over and over again in a desperate attempt to get his attention.
Hey, there’s nothing wrong with persistence. Following up on a pitch is absolutely okay, and it’s something I often recommend. But that’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re not talking about persistence we’re talking about spamming.
There are a few different layers to this grievous error some PR folks make:
- Mistake #1: A poorly written press release—A bad press release is one that takes forever to get to the point, doesn’t have a newsworthy angle, is filled with jargon and buzzwords, and reads more like an advertisement than a news story. Want to write better press releases? Check out our guide that’s filled with tips and practical advice.
- Mistake #2: Sending the poorly written press release to the wrong reporter—The typical reporter gets flooded with pitches all day long. He barely has time to go through them all as it is, and you’re only making things worse when you waste his time by pitching him a story that has nothing to do with the beat he covers.
- Mistake #3: Resending the press release multiple times instead of following up properly—Even if you don’t realize that your press release sucks and that you’ve sent it to a reporter who doesn’t cover your beat, resending the same press release over and over again isn’t going to do you any favors. That’s not the right way to follow up with a reporter. You can follow up by giving the reporter a quick phone call to discuss your pitch, or you can send another email with a little something extra to add some appeal to your story.
- Mistake #4: Not learning from your mistakes—When reporters ignore or reject your press releases numerous times, you need to look in the mirror and figure out where you went wrong. Maybe your mistake was sending the press release to the wrong reporter. Maybe you didn’t put the right spin on the story to make it appealing. Maybe your pitch was too generic and should have been tailored to each reporter and his or her audience. Learn from your mistakes, and always get better!
Are you guilty of spamming reporters with your bad press releases over and over again?