Are You Guilty of PR Spam?

Ask any reporter what the one thing is they hate most about their job, and many will say that it’s having to sort through mounds of PR spam on a daily basis. Reporters and bloggers get flooded with irrelevant press releases and pitches on a daily basis. These are releases the lazy PR person just blindly sends to a huge list of contacts without any thought as to if the recipients have any interest whatsoever in the content of the message.

Spam in mailboxThe problems with sending out PR spam are:

  • You burn bridges with the media
  • It’s clearly spam and it gets deleted immediately
  • It sabotages your PR efforts (you’re shooting yourself in the foot)

What is PR spam?

How can you tell if you’re guilty of sending out PR spam? Do you click “Select All” and send out every news release to every contact on your list? Do you send news releases to reporters that don’t cover stories like yours? Do your emails contain nothing but the text of the press release? Do you use template greetings at the beginning of the email? Do you keep sending emails to reporters that have tried to unsubscribe from your email list?

If you do any of these things, you’re a PR spammer. Hate to break it to you, but it’s the truth. And you can bet there are a lot of journalists out there who have a less than favorable opinion of you right now.

How to stop being a PR spammer

The damage has already been done, but it’s never too late to learn from your mistakes and change your behavior. Here are some simple tips that will help you put an end to PR spam.

  • Read the publication you’re pitching – Take the time to familiarize yourself with the newspaper, magazine, blog or journal you’re sending a pitch to. You need to figure out which type of stories they cover that are relevant to you, and you need to identify which reporter is likeliest to cover your story. A little research can go a long way to helping you create a targeted, highly effective PR pitch.
  • Know the reporter – Reporters can’t stand it when they get a news release or a pitch that has nothing to do with what they cover. Sending unrelated pitches is the quickest way to get on their bad side. So, take the time to read some of the reporter’s work before pitching. A clearly segmented contact list can help you divide reporters up by the industries they cover.
  • Don’t send unsolicited attachments – Sending a mass pitch to everyone on your contact list with a Word doc attached just reeks of spam. You shouldn’t send unsolicited attachments to reporters.
  • Remove journalists from your list when they request it – If a reporter tries to opt out of your email list, you must honor his request. There’s nothing more frustrating than constantly trying to unsubscribe from a list only to continually receive emails from the person. Honor all unsubscribe requests!

What are some other things PR spammers do?

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download a free copy of the PR Checklist – a 24 point list of Press Release Dos and Don’ts here:

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