As a blogger, I interact with PR folks and Marketing agents pretty often. Whether it’s through emailed press releases, embargoed information, or actual review units of products, I’m usually talking to at least 4-5 different people each week. What constantly amazes me is how spot-on some companies are with communications, and how so many others fail miserably at getting my attention towards their clients.
The biggest waste that I see from PR folks and Marketing agencies is in pure time. The time spent to send out an email PR is admittedly small. However, the time that I spend reading it, along with the various networks that it passes through, quickly becomes significant. If I choose to respond, for whatever reason, the cost rises again, and so on. As such, I’m constantly amazed at how many completely irrelevant releases I get each week, a number that is actually growing.
It’s not hard to figure out what I’m likely to be interested in. My site is SYMBIAN-Guru.com. My email is ‘Guru@Symbian-Guru.com’. A quick glance at my website gives it away first thing, ‘Everything you need to know about Symbian/S60, straight from the Guru.’ From that, somehow, there are at least a half dozen PR people who somehow think I’d be interested in their release of an iPhone or Windows Mobile application. Baffling. How much time would have been saved (and face) had they done even 5 minutes of research to see that I could care less about their iPhone app?
Past that, let’s touch on product reviews. If you send me something, and you expect it back, either say so, or include a return shipping label. If you don’t either specifically mention that, or include a return label, I’m likely to assume that you don’t need it back, and I’m probably going to give it to a friend or family member. If that upsets you, then you’re daft. It’s free publicity directly to a disconnected person (in most cases).
Also, if you send me something to review, assume that I’m interested in your company. While this should be obvious, it’s incredible how many companies just send out the product, with no documentation or anything. If that’s you, here’s what you need to do: write a stock letter, thanking me for my time, and giving me ~1 paragraph about the product or company. Give me some history on how it came about, or what features you’re most proud of, etc. Also, include a direct contact, even if it’s just email. Leaving me to go google for your company, only to find a ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ email, is lame.
I really do love being contacted by PR folks and marketing people. They make my job easier because it’s less hunting that I have to do to find content. Also note – Don’t ever ask me to speak positively about your company/product. Ever. I’ll be honest in whatever I say, and my personal rule is that if something sucks, I’ll tell you why, and I’ll usually offer a suggestion to make it not suck.