PR People – This Is What I Hate

As you might imagine, running two popular blogs and a podcast garners a lot of attention from PR people. I get about a dozen pitches a day and most of them I delete straight away. I have to say that at least a few times a day I hit the delete button with an extra bit of forcefulness when I realize that the PR person didn’t do a bit of homework before sending more their latest bit of info that they hope I’ll react to. I get frustrated by this, but it wasn’t until I read this article on Hypebot that I thought I’d put something together about the things I hate that PR people do or don’t do in hopes that it might help some PR people in the future.

PR people

Things I hate #1 – You Didn’t Take The Time To Get To Know Me

In 15 years of writing a blog I’ve never done a single album review. I’ve never written about a new band or artist. I’ve never written about a new book (unless it’s one of mine). Honestly, that’s not what I do and it’s not what I’m ever going to do. Not interested.

Yet every day there’s at least half dozen emails about the latest new album from either a new or established artist that lands in my inbox. Sorry, I know it’s important to you but it’s not useful to me so it’s an instant delete.

Even worse, lately I’ve been getting emails from PR people hoping that I’ll interview their client who specializes in politics, health care, or the automotive industry. All fine endeavors – nothing to do with music.

Please do a little research first.

Things I Hate #2 – The Generic Greeting

Which one do you think I’ll continue reading? The greeting that says, “Dear editor,” or the one that says, “Hi Bobby.” If you picked the second one, you’re right.

Even worse is the greeting that says, “Hi Bobby Owsinski,” (which means my name was captured from a mailing list), or the very generic work-around “Hi There!” Once again, do your homework or I’ll never read it.

Things I Hate #3 – Poorly Formatted Copy

If I can’t read it quickly, I won’t read it. That means long 10 sentence paragraphs, no white space on the page, and run-on sentences and paragraphs.

I get regular press releases from a PR person that I actually like and he sends me good content, but it’s always in 8 point type that’s hard to read. I’ve reached out and complained, but it still comes in the smallest type that’s probably allowed by an email service provider.

Today I received one that was so sloppy that it was actually down two quote levels, so it was a copy of a copy. You mean you can’t take the couple minutes that it might take to actually make it seem like you wrote this?

It’s not that I’m busier than anyone else, it’s just that I don’t want to spend my time and brain power trying to decipher what you’re trying to tell me. Help me out, please.

Things I Hate #4 – The Same Email Over And Over

I don’t mind getting a reminder email about your pitch a few days after the first one, and maybe even another one a week later (providing none of the other 3 issues above are not in play), but to hit me day after day with exactly the same press release is a sure way to get on my spam list. Yes, I understand the irony here as my own list subscribers get multiple emails from me about a particular topic, but at least they’re all different and there’s been some thought (in most cases a lot of thought) put into them.

PR people, the fact of the matter is that I want you to send content that’s relevant to me. Many of my podcast guests come through PR contacts, as do much of the gear that I feature on New Music Gear Monday. When it’s targeted properly, it’s of great use and importance to me.

So thank you for all you do, PR people. Public relations is a tough job and getting tougher all the time. We’re in this together and we can really help each other. Just give me what I want and I’ll do the same.

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