building relationships; one journalist at a time.

The editor of wired.com was fed up of spam he received from untargeted PR attempts to get coverage.  What followed this article was a long list of email addresses where he publically outed.  A prime example of how relationships in PR are key.   He wrote:

Sorry PR people: you’re blocked
I’ve had it. I get more than 300 emails a day and my problem isn’t spam (Cloudmark Desktop solves that nicely), it’s PR people. Lazy flacks send press releases to the Editor in Chief of Wired because they can’t be bothered to find out who on my staff, if anyone, might actually be interested in what they’re pitching. Fact: I am an actual person, not a team assigned to read press releases and distribute them to the right editors and writers (that’s
editor@wired.com).

So fair warning: I only want two kinds of email: those from people I know, and those from people who have taken the time to find out what I’m interested in and composed a note meant to appeal to that (I love those emails; indeed, that’s why my email address is public).

Everything else gets banned on first abuse. The following is just the last month’s list of people and companies who have been added to my Outlook blocked list. All of them have sent me something inappropriate at some point in the past 30 days. Many of them sent press releases; others just added me to a distribution list without asking. If their address gets harvested by spammers by being published here, so be it–turnabout is fair play.

The moral of this story?  Build relationships!

Your relationship with journalists is very important and is the basis of your interaction with the media.  If you have not yet established a relationship with your local press, read the local publications and get the names of the journalists who cover your specific topic. Check out the online version of the publication and search for articles by those journalists. Give them a call and introduce yourself. Journalists are always looking for good news stories and this is a great way to start a relationship with them.

I won’t lie to you. These relationships take time to develop, and this time should be viewed as a long-term investment.  When you do have a story to pitch, you may not always get coverage, but you have nothing to lose by cultivating these relationships.

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