05 August 2008

PR annoyances of the month

A double posting tonight, as I return to an occasional favourite of mine...

First up, a very nice PR person actually took the trouble to call me a couple of weeks back to ask me about the kind of topics I normally write about and to see if I would be interested in any of her clients. I explained that her patch didn't really overlap with mine except very occasionally. We agreed that she could email her client list for me to peruse and that I would get back to her if I saw any possibilities for feature ideas. I've been a bit busy since then and haven't had time to look at the list.

I was rather cross today to get an email from her colleague. Said colleague wrote that she was glad to hear I was interested in the type of products her clients sold (er no, I didn't say that), she attached a "feature" that she asked me to place (the feature actually being a press release that consisted of a long list of product benefits - there was no story at all as the product has been on the market at least 10 years in the UK) and finished by saying she'd continue to send me releases (that I almost certainly do not want). An object lesson in how to piss a hack off. And tomorrow I have to write back to her sweetly explaining what she got wrong (I say sweetly because actually I don't want to piss off the colleague who called first).

I also got a release today of no use to me whatsoever from Rainier PR telling me all about why Londoners are sick of reading about Amy Winehouse in the media. Er, hello, anyone home at Rainier? I don't live in London and couldn't give a flying duck about whether its residents want to read about Winehouse's personal problems.

Of what possible use is a London-focused release to any hack a) not living in London and b) not writing about London? This is yet another example of Londoners driving the media agenda with London-based news and forgetting that the vast majority of British people live elsewhere and would rather know what is going on in their own area. It's the same mindset that dictates that the "news" is based on Westminster and the government and reflected in the very patchy media coverage of many counties on the BBC's own news website.

PRs take note: a bit more attention and focus to detail never goes amiss.

*I do realise I'm probably pissing into the wind here...

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