Please do not release me… applying Darwin to PR

Another lesson in why PR practitioners should not spam journalists with press releases from Matthew Gwyther writing the Editor’s blog at Management Today.

Back from hols and 1,024 emails in the inbox. Bet you can’t beat that. It’s always the same after a period away and it takes me a good couple of hours to shift through what is, if I’m perfectly honest, 95% dross. You may think it’s great being so popular but you’d be wrong. And they’re not all spam offering me four gross of Cialis for $129.99, or a chance-of-a-lifetime opportunity to help some West African whose father has sadly passed away and who needs help getting his secret stash out of the country. No – they’re mostly no-hope press releases from desperate PRs.

I really fail to see why this junk mail approach to media relations continues – there is clearly no process of natural selection in the profession.  If Darwin’s theories applied to PR, we might see such behaviour become less common in successive generations.  Those who annoy journalists by their bad behaviour should wither away and the reproduction of puff and spam releases should decline as we adapt to our environment, with only the optimum practices surviving.

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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.

4 thoughts on “Please do not release me… applying Darwin to PR”

  1. I don’t write many press releases as everything I manage to get published is sold in personally. This might not be a the ideal thing to do if one has a large campaign to get coverage on but I don’t believe in scatter-gun-hope-for-the best press releases.

  2. Jill – I agree with you. Although we are likely to need materials to give to the media after we’ve discussed an idea with them. But these again could be tailored or provide essential facts, etc rather than reading like a spammy press release.

  3. The reason natural selection doesn’t work in the market I report on, is because the gene-pool isn’t big enough, in other words there isn’t enough competition. The result is that weak PRs can survive.
    Maybe I should take an even harder line with incomming email press releases…

  4. Tristan – absolutely. Could you not return some direct with a message about their poor quality? Or maybe just send to me and I could target the authors for a MIPAA training course.

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