Would you be ok with me sending you an email each time I published a blog post on this blog?
Some of you might say yes. Some of you might say that you like my photography, so you don’t mind if I email you each time.
Imagine you’re blind. ( Bear with me – I’m trying to bring up the aspect of “relevance” here. ) You are blind, your email id was once included in a CC chain to me and I started emailing you each time I published a new blog post. How would that feel you think? I don’t imagine you’d spend too long before marking all my emails as spam.
That’s how press releases make me feel. ( I’m eternally grateful that I’m not blind and neither are you and people who actually are, I’m so sorry, I make terrible analogies. )
“Celebrity X cut ribbon at this store launch in a city where you don’t live!”
“This new vegetable slicer is NEW!”
“This fashion designer known for their plagiarism had another runway show!”
“This quarter for a business you know nothing about was a SUCCESS!”
“We don’t know if you run but these running shoes are great!”
“Oooooh! Client shared email list with us, you’re on it, so POOP!”
“Doctor X made new whitening cream, your audience needs to be whiter!”
“This car is so expensive that we can only afford email spam!”
“Did you know, celebrity Y took a shit today?”
“And celebrity Z thought the smell of celebrity Y’s shit wasn’t that bad? Y and Z are friends again!”
“Celebrity A who is on this incredibly misogynistic TV show finally got married to their co-star!”
“This movie hits theatres yesterday!”
“This brand that uses sweatshops in Bangladesh threw this party & all the usual Page 3 people showed up and photos are attached so you can puke into your coffee cup!”
You’re creating more animosity than anything else. I usually request to be removed from the mailing list stating that I really have no use for press releases. After my third email request goes unanswered ( yeah yeah, I’m an idiot for even responding the first time ), I mark these emails as spam.
I’ve wondered why these emails are even a “thing”. I’ve considered that maybe PR folk send these out hoping that a blogger might see a press release and write back to them with a pitch on how they’d like to include the product / brand from that press release in their upcoming blog feature. But that is flawed thinking because most of these emails have nothing to do with the content on my blog. It feels like they’re using buckshot hoping for a bull’s eye. Which can work as a strategy sometimes, like you keep the shutter button pressed and hope at least one photo will have everyone with their eyes open. But for that too, you need to point the camera in the direction of your subject. You can’t point the camera toward a wall and hope you’ll get everyone’s eyes open in at least one photo.
Point your press release emails to someone who actually gives a fuck and has the ability and willingness to put it to use.
I think the problem is that bloggers are still being treated like press / media who sometimes find press releases useful to sniff out stories for their publications – they are news-makers. Bloggers like me are NOT news-makers. We are like “taste-makers”. We don’t give a shit about the latest nonsense your client’s brand has pulled. We want to work with your brand – pretty much doesn’t matter what your product or brand is – we are willing to come up with ideas and approaches and execution strategies to create a story on our blog with your brand.
I’m telling you now, I WANT TO WORK WITH YOU. TALK TO ME. HIRE ME. Write to me with that assumption each and every time. You don’t ever have to send me a press release again.
More anecdotes and stories in the #WTFNaina series. ( These are all inspired by true stories. Some written emails, some from face-to-face meetings. They have all been piling up for years now and I’ve decided to put them to use! )
Photos by Alex Naanou and Anil Bawa-Cavia. Licenses via Flickr for 01 and 02.