06 November 2007

Targetted PR releases a must

Was Chris Anderson, editor of Wired, correct to "out" PR practitioners who send him unsolicited e-mails?

The "outing" made headlines on 5 November in the New York Times Technology section, after Anderson ripped into the PR people who "can’t be bothered to find out who on my staff, if anyone, might actually be interested in what they’re pitching".

Anderson says he gets more than 300 e-mails a day. Some of these were from the leading public relations firms, including Edelman, Fleishman-Hillard, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide and Weber Shandwick. Anderson says they should know better.

The debate is split. Some people believe Anderson breached privacy etiquette. Most, however, are with him.

I agree with Anderson. One of the golden rules, particularly in today's fragmented market, is to research your audience and target only those media that cater for that audience. You would think "professionals" would know this. Obviously not.

It's a good lesson for them, particularly as their addresses have now been harvested by email bots. You've heard about payback, well Anderson is getting some (deserved) "bounceback".

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The PR Lab is a consultancy, specialising on research, reputation management, social media, media relations and the development of measurable strategies that produce results. It is run by Dr Greg Smith, a former journalist and PR professional. Greg worked on daily newspapers in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. He held senior PR positions in the Australian Defence Force, Sydney Olympics and national not-for-profits. He has also lectured in PR at Edith Cowan University and the University of Notre Dame Australia.