Dear Editor, I Feel Your Pain

I haven’t been immune to the visceral reaction to the countless blogs and articles about why PR professionals are the bane of this journalist or that blogger’s existence. I’ve read more than my fair share of blogs and article comments lamenting over the incessant deluge of inappropriate PR pitches, form letters and aimless follow up calls. I even shared my shock and dismay with my colleagues at BluePoint late last year when I found an anti-PR rant in the most unlikely source, from my perspective anyway, the print edition of CSO Magazine. I wondered, why in the world would they waste print editorial space on a tirade about an issue that their audience of security and risk professionals doesn’t care about in the least? (Please note: I still value CSO Magazine as both an editorial and a marketing partner, but I was incensed for a short time when I saw that in print.)

Perhaps my inherent rage stemmed from the fact that at BluePoint we try to make every pitch relevant, with the goal of building relationships for our clients and their primary industry influencers. I spent many years studying the dos and don’ts of PR, both for my B.A. and for my M.S. The PR team at BluePoint learned from professionals who valued how they had developed long-lasting relationships with journalists for both their clients and their own personal enjoyment, rather than those who counted clips and thought calling every single irrelevant reporter on a list was a best practice for an effective PR program.

But … my light bulb has gone on, and please believe me when I say (or write) that my light bulb is now at least 100 watts if not brighter. I have a newfound appreciation for journalists’ PR woes, and, yes, even their seemingly unfounded rants (at least to those of us who try to play by the true best practices of our profession). You see, my contact information has somehow made it onto some PR firms’ distribution lists. Now, on top of the hundreds of emails a day I receive from clients, PR/marketing partners, news outlets, and my traditional spam offenders, I have a new annoyance clogging my inbox and wasting my time – pointless, irrelevant and ill-researched pitches. I won’t name names, but I do wish the offenders would realize their mistakes.

I get a few pitches every week (which I know pales in comparison to those that my journalist counterparts receive every hour), and each one infuriates me a bit more. They obviously took no time to research the outlet/reporter, and they are all blast emails with no more personalization than the quick mention of my name. And the best part you ask? When I write back to them to let them know of their mistake (at first I was kind, now I admit I am a bit terse in my replies), it is ignored.

I’ve been restraining myself for weeks but could no longer resist the need to voice my “bad” PR frustrations. The silver lining to all of this annoyance – my newfound understanding for why there is often a backlash about supposed PR professionals. While I’d still like to think that at BluePoint, we play by the “good” PR rules and are not one of the offenders so often discussed in journalist/blogger circles, I finally feel your pain.

— Posted by Erica Camilo

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