I know PR people have a job to do, but sometimes …
Every day a media release or launch invite manages to find its way into my in-box. I’ll usually take the trouble to have a look – unless all that’s sent is an attachment and I don’t know the sender … in which case it goes straight in the deleted bin. Handy Tip 1: these things can carry viruses and other nasties you know, so do try to give the information you’ve carefully crafted at least a fighting chance of being looked at!
Of course, it’s the intro that can make or break for these things. If you have to tell me this is the ‘technology that’s going to change my life’ then it probably won’t. If you’re trying to plug something that’s happening in Chicago, Shanghai or even Sydney, then, try elsewhere.
Something that can help is a follow up call. Not the stalker-style leaving messages on every phone and email I own, especially if I’ve indicated I’m not particularly interested. Handy Tip 2: there’s no harm in a friendly reminder and enquiry as to whether I have any questions.
And so it happened. I’d received information on an event, and the ‘world class’ speakers, ‘hands-on and engaging’ seminars, blah, blah, blah. The email got filed away and I forgot about it until …
“Hi, this is Jasmine [not her real name … because who at a PR agency would ever be called Jasmine, right!], I’m calling about the media release …. and so on.”
Ah, yes, that thing. Yeah, I sorta remember … nah, probably won’t be able to attend … keynote sounded interesting … hmmm, the sponsor has a new product, huh.
She quickly pitched me the promotional spiel on the new piece of kit that was going to change my life, offered to send through a specs sheet, images, reviews, the works. It would be showcased and pushed unashamedly at the event, including an invite-only demo with canapés the first night (which needless to say, I was invited to) before the delegates’ slap-up-and-get-sloshed meal (although I’d have to pay if I wanted to partake of this bit …)
I think my exact words were: “It sounds interesting. Can you send through some info and I’ll have a read.”
What she heard, however, was something slightly different. How do I know? Well, she responded with a ‘thank you for chatting’ email, copying in her clients, presumably to prove she’d spoken to me and show what a marvelous job she’d done. But in doing so, she included an earlier email to said client saying: “Greg’s agreed to run a story on the new product, interview you, write up the event, etc, etc.”
Not quite what I’d said … but how’s the client to know. Just blame the bloody journo when the article doesn’t appear. And that could be my third tip. But no.
Handy Tip 3: when forwarding email messages remember not to include ones which may contain any revealing info! Needless to say there was no story, no review, no interview, no event write up … bloody journos.