The bulk of my “day job” consists of me filtering information from public relations/marketing people: they flog their products at me, I decide if it’s worth writing about, and if it is I share it with my community on one (or more) of my Web sites. What’s extremely frustrating is when I decide I’m going to write about something, and the PR person/company in question makes that hard for me. They typically do one of these bone-headed things:
- They send me a press release, but they haven’t gotten around to publishing the press release online anywhere, so there’s nothing for me to link to. Links – you know, the foundation of the whole Internet? Yeah, they matter. I’m not going to spend 30 minutes re-writing your whole damn press release – I’m not a journalist, and I don’t have time for it. I hear excuse after excuse from PR people: “Oh, yeah, we haven’t gotten around to putting the press release online.”
- The don’t send me an image of the product. The Web is a visual medium, and people like pictures. I can either email the PR person back and wait several hours (or days) for them to get back to me with the photo, or I can hunt around the company Web site looking for an image – and more often than not, I can’t find anything more than a little 100 x 100 pixel image. Even companies that are smart enough to have dedicated online press rooms will often not have them updated with the latest products. Why the hell have an online press room unless it has absolutely everything that an online writer is looking for?
- They send me their press release as a 2 MB Word file with large embedded graphics. Don’t waste my time. They often think that embedding graphics in a Word document is the same thing as providing a blogger/journalist with the images they need. It’s not.
So the shot list for all you PR People out there: email me the press release in the email message, have the press release online for me to link to, include me a reasonable size Web-ready image (1000 x 1000 pixels maximum, JPEG format), and if I ask you a question, please try to get back to me as quick as you can…though hopefully if you give me the things I need, I won’t have any questions for you – other than “So when can I review this?”.
Oh, and lest anyone think I’m bashing PR people, I’m not – my bachelor’s degree is in PR. I know the game and how it’s supposed to be played, so it ticks me off when my “peers” don’t do what they’re supposed to.