It’s been a fair while since I did one of these, and there has been a marked increase in exceptionally badly targeted PR and spam at this blog over the past couple of months.

All publications get targeted by PR agencies, etc, and generally speaking, most of it is quite good. In my day job, barely a murmur from the bottom-feeders can be heard.

As a blog though — oh lord, the junk I get is shocking.

Somehow, blog targeting PR agencies seem to think blogs will do anything, say anything, write about anything.

They are wrong.

I even try to engage with some of them — and find out why the about page on my website is not clear enough about what this blog will, and will not write about. Obviously, I know many of them just buy a crap database of email addresses and spam people, but they rarely admit it as it’s actually quite poor practice.

My rule is clear. A relevant message will at least be read, and on occasions, even responded to. An irrelevant message about holidays, car insurance, free chocolate bars… will unleash the Kraken.

Ultimately, you the reader don’t want to read about that sort of fluffy junk any more than I want to write about it.

Here are some of the more recent abuses:

Liz said that she “would suggest giving you a [brand of motor car] and arrange a [brandname] adventure weekend for you?”

They want to give me a car? I suspect they meant lend. And I can’t drive.

Lisa wrote to tell me that “The [travel firm] is starting an affiliate program for qualified, successful travel blogs and websites. The [travel firm] launched its line of pick pocket proof travel gear in 2011, and has since been featured in [long list of blogs and websites]”

As I clearly state on my contacts page I am not a travel blog, so this is one website where your product wont be featured.

Juliana suggested that I should “Prepare to have your senses well and truly assaulted by the coolest film of the year and uncover a tale of deranged, crazed, sexy college teens on the road to hedonism and self discovery.”

I prefer to keep my senses intact thank you very much.

Micaela wanted to tell me about a hotel chain “who have recently produced a fantastic light-hearted infographic called ‘Tips for tourists’ which we thought you and the readers of may enjoy!”

When I asked why she ignored the message on my contact page that specifically states I wont write about hotels or inforgraphics, she admitted that she didn’t even bother to read my website, but just used a “tool” to get my email address.

Jodie thought this news release from [yet another holiday firm] “would be of interest for upcoming features! Love to know if you’re keen to use any of the stats from the survey.”

She so thought wrongly.

Micah wanted to “offer a $25 hotel gift certificate to the readers of Ian Visits, courtesy of [nasty looking hotel website]. This is good for $25 off any hotel booked through our site; it’s essentially like a $25 off coupon for any hotel stay.”

Sigh – more hotel junk, and not even in the UK’s currency

Aldo said that he “was looking for bloggers who had posted articles recently about fireworks and wanted to reach out to you with an infographic my team has just designed called Beyond the Boom: How Fireworks Work. I thought that your audience would find it interesting.”

Even when I pointed out my issues with infographics and how I hadn’t written about fireworks recently, he still insisted that the infographic was relevant.

Luisa told me about a client who will “have a garden at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and created an infographic around the flower show and their garden.”

More infographics. At least it’s hot a hotel firm this time.

Jonathan wanted me to photograph a “one-off stunt with one of the world¹s most exciting  celebrities, in conjunction with one of our clients.”

He couldn’t tell me anything about it and I had to sign a non-disclosure agreement first. The document named a brand of fizzy drink. I declined.

…and of course, the daily flood of people asking to write guest blog posts despite my stating clearly on my contact page that I wont accept them.

I am getting increasingly close to naming/shaming the bad PR agencies, as their clients need to know that their own brand names are being badly tarnished by these bottom-feeding vampires.

Good PR agencies are good, and should get the custom from the clients. The bad ones need to go out of business.

Read my blog – even just skim down the headlines on the front page to get an idea of what I write about.

If having looked at that you conclude that I am likely to write about credit cards, travel insurance, cheap chocolate etc, then at least explain how you came to that conclusion so that I can get some insight into the thinking process that goes on inside PR Towers, and modify my own behaviour as needed to avoid such misapprehensions being created.

Otherwise, expect another of this blog posts in about six months time.



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One comment
  1. Neil Turner says:

    I feel your pain. There are some PR agencies that I’ve blocked from my email server. One of them (to whom I’d contacted three times to ask them to remove my details) then used the contact page on my web site to ask why my email address wasn’t working.

    About 10% of the emails I get from PRs are good, and well-targeted, and I do take advantage of those when I can. But others… sheeesh.

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