Who do you think you’re talking to?

I had one of my favourite things today: a press release from a doubtless tiny PR company, which stated in the covering note that they were positive the story would fit perfectly into something called “the Clapperton, Guy”.

Speaking as one of the few Clapperton guys I know (my brother is another) I have to say the company did two wrong things. First, the subject really wasn’t in my area. Second, it’s fairly obvious that nobody was sanity checking the emails – no-one could let something like that through if they were actually reading it.

It reminded me of an incident a few years ago in which someone pitched something they thought would work in “my publication”. I asked them which publication they meant, thinking they might be targeting one of my regular outlets, and the response I received basically said:

“I have checked out database and it appears you are a freelancer. You therefore do not have a publication. I hope this clarifies matters.” I’d been perfectly clear on that point all along, thanks.

Think before you send

There are thousands of journalists and bloggers out there, and thanks to the speed at which you can set up a blog the picture can change overnight. I get that, I really do. It’s no longer reasonable to expect every PR person to keep up with every stray hack who might wander on to their territory.

But it so unreasonable to ask them to sanity check the list, see if there’s something that stands out as “obviously not a magazine or newspaper name”? That’s where I part company with the senders of emails like this. Engage the brain before sending – you might even write a better targeted press release as a result.

Do you need help with media engagements? Drop me an email, I can help.

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