Any journalist or blogger will admit to receiving a lot of off-topic pitches and press releases. Some would classify this information as “PR spam” – others would just complain that PR pros are lazy and don’t take the time to learn what they write about, or approach a pitch unprepared. They’re right. I haven’t met a journalist yet that didn’t have a couple of war stories about how bad the problem of PR spam is. Some areas are better than others – for example, financial reporters seem to receive more relevant information than technology journalists, perhaps due to the tighter restrictions around public information.
On the other side of the table, most PR professionals you talk to will tell you that they do their best to only pitch relevant information to journalists and that push-back they receive is the result of catching a journalist on a bad day. Many will admit to sending off-topic information or spam pitches at some point in their career – many have learned from these mistakes, many have not. You’ll always have a couple of bad eggs that resort to pitching journalists cold – playing the numbers game, in hopes that somebody will respond and want to write about the “news” they are pitching.
Recently, there has been a lot of talk about new solutions entering the market that will address the problem of PR spam head on. I’ll talk about some of those solutions in upcoming posts – and I recently wrote a post about MatchPoint’s new solution as one example of a new product trying to stop PR spam. Some bloggers have already taken this issue into their own hands, publishing lists of PR spammers – in an attempt to help other bloggers eliminate the problem with the email filter. You’d have to be living under a rock the past year or so to miss those examples, so no need to reference them all again in this post. [Read more…]