One thing about blogging that’s taken me a while to get used to is the amount of Email I receive, specifically, the amount of public relations requests from PR firms to assist in promoting a product, service or website.
Truth be told, I love receiving PR requests.
They make me feel important (ha!) but the simple fact is that I can’t participate or even respond to all of the PR requests I receive just because of the sheer quantity. I have noticed a distinct categorization of requests from public relations firms and what appears to be a varying level of skill or knowledge between each firm when it comes to their social media abilities.
I’m not going to name names for the good, bad or annoying Email solicitations I receive from PR firms.
That would just be bad PR on my part.
But I will point out some of the tactics and methods that I find effective, ineffective and just down-right annoying. First, the good stuff.
The Good in Public Relations – Authors
I seriously love PR requests to review books!
Why? Well, for a couple of reasons, actually. As an author, I can appreciate the struggling author’s desire to publicize his or her works.
I’ve written tens of thousands of words before myself as well and I want nothing more than for people to see and appreciate the effort I put into writing that book. I want people to connect with me through my book and my experiences and stories.
Promoting your own books can be a LOT of work – quite honestly more than one person could do on their own, therefore I appreciate and accept as many book review offers as I possibly can.
The Bad in Public Relations – Ambiguity
One of the most frustrating types of Emails I receive ALL.THE.TIME from public relations ‘professionals’ is one that doesn’t actually ask me to do anything.
Copying and pasting a press release without any call for action or request to do anything seems quite pointless to me.
Ok, I’ve read your press release (or not). Delete.
To effectively engage me, you have to ask me something – and preferably offer something as well. By offer me something – I don’t necessarily mean give me something for free but at least offer promotional materials, interview opportunities, review copies or SOMETHING.
That is what a PR firm’s reason for contacting bloggers is, after all, right – to engage bloggers?
The Annoying in Public Relations – Glaring Errors
I received an email last week from a public relations firm seeking to promote a popular new TV series from a wildly-popular cable network on various blogs and social media channels.
I should get excited about these emails. I don’t.
The message was pretty well-laid out and contained information about the series along with images that could be used for promotion, program schedule information so that I knew when the show would air and a suggested Twitter message that I could simply copy and paste if I wanted to help promote the show.
The Twitter message was 165 characters long, whereas Twitter’s character limit is set at 140 (160 – 20 reserved characters). OOPS.
This is fairly common knowledge and absolutely should be something that is known by PR professionals – especially those seeking to promote their clients in social media. I found this to be so utterly annoying I deleted the Email and will likely dismiss any subsequent requests from that firm simply because I don’t have the time to ‘check their work’ before I act on it.
What do you find to be the good, bad or annoying about PR requests that you may receive? How often do you respond? Do you find the Emails you receive from public relations firms to be overall effective or ineffective?
Update: I just received another PR request from the 160 character Tweet faux pa sender. The good news was that the tweet was updated and passed Twitter’s 140 character limit.
The bad news?
Not even so much as a thank you for pointing out their error. Professionalism be damned I see.