PR Gone Bad: How to Anger Bloggers and Hose Your Client

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PR Gone Bad: How to Anger Bloggers and Hose Your Client

Strap on your seatbelts, this is gonna get ugly…

About a week ago, I got the following pitch letter:

Awake At The Wheel

Mr. Jonathan Fields Self Help

For Immediate Release [full press release for first author follows]

It’s really rare I get to announce a new book and offer an special opportunity of such importance, quality and pure enjoyment. [Author's] new book [Title], published this coming month by [Big Publisher #1], is so good that I believe that he can change the attitude that many Americans have towards the challenging lives we presently lead and our whole future – for the better.

Please let me know if you’d like to see a copy of [Author #1's] new book.

It doesn’t matter where you live or who you are, if you haven’t yet reviewed [Title of book #2], published by [Publisher #2], which is still number X on the New York Times Best Sellers List (X weeks in a row now), let me know and we’ll send you both.

Please provide me with your best street address and phone number. If you’d like to arrange an interview with [Author #1], please do let me know as well.

[Name of Publicist & Tel #]

It was clear by the salutation, “Mr. Jonathan Fields Self Help,” that this was a mass mailing.

And the standardized body copy showed no regard for who I was and what I wrote or cared about. In fact, I couldn’t even figure out which author this person was really pushing.

Delete!

Fast forward a week later, the same exact e-mail lands in my inbox. No change. No, “hey, just checking in. Just a straight up repeat spam performance. This time I decided to reply:

This is the second time you’ve spammed me. Take me off your list asap

I figured that’d be the end.

But, annoyed that I expected even a modicum of understanding of how social media works, a hint of respect and wafting of rapport when being asked to do a favor by a perfect stranger, the publicist retorted:

It is the second time I wrote to you Jonathan.  I am trying to interest you in perhaps one of the most important self help books ever written.  You didn’t reply the first time and I thought that you might respond the second time.

Sorry if this doesn’t appear to meet your needs.

I will certainly respect your wishes, but it sure seems an ironic shame that you are choosing this course of action.

I’d have let it go at that, but “ironic shame?” IRONIC SHAME?!”

To which I replied:

The “ironic shame” is that as someone who represents the legendary [Big Publisher] and books based on respect and honoring human individuality, you’ve not taken the time to understand the fundamentals of how to pitch a blogger in a manner that’s not insulting and spammy.

Show at least a modicum of interest in what I do and what I write about. Show me you’ve read at least a single post. Build at least a smidge of rapport before you ask me or any other blogger to do you a favor. And, don’t address me as “Mr. Jonathan Fields Self Help.” That’s just piling on.

I wish the book only great success. But, I’ll pass on it. Not because of the book. Because of your discourtesy.

Much peace,

Then came his closing shot.

I mean, who the hell was I, a lowly blogger, to demand to be treated like an individual and not a number? It’s not like I was someone in “real” media. I clearly don’t get how the world of PR works and need some schooling. So, he wrote:

I’m really sorry you feel that way.  With all due respect I will try to explain my own personal professional opinion why your position is something that’s less than desirable for a someone who is practicing in the world of public relations.

I’ve been pitching media for over 35 years.  It’s true I use a news release format and yes, it’s a one size fits all approach.  But I have to tell you it works.  By saying that you need to have the pitch a certain way to me is a fairly close minded way to be.  Sure you might like to be edified and maintain that there’s a proper way to pitch a blogger so that your ideas make the communications fit your ideals, but actually, it’s simply unrealistic to those of us who make a living getting people publicity.  I think that you might want to try getting publicity for others before you criticize the way in which we who do this for a living practice it.

I only wish you could understand that we can’t operate the way you are asking.  I use news releases to offer our opportunities and actually, it’s very, very effective.  Bloggers are only one of over 25 prime media and online technologies.  There are 1700 dailies, 6900 weeklies, 12000 magazines, 8500 radio talk shows, 6500 tv stations and talk shows, 450 news services and syndicates, and 800 plus freelance writers, and that’s just the prime media.   Then there are the online counterparts to all the above and media bloggers are just a part of them.  Then there’s the Internet.  Web pages, blogs, ezines, newsletters, forums, audio, video, and now there’s the so-called social media. While it’s true that the formats for production are different the way to ask media if they are interested still come down to a meaningful communication that allows you to communicate.

I have to tell you that most media respond favorably to content and quality, and not to the format of the email.  The response to this pitch in particular is as it turns out as high as I’ve ever seen a media response in all my years of doing this.  Even your blogger counterparts are responding favorably.  Dozens and dozens of them are responding simply by saying, sure,. Send us the books.

BTW, this is how you are listed in the Cision database.  You are just one of over ¾ of a million journalists listed.

If you don’t want to receive any more news releases from me, please click on the link at the bottom of one of the news releases.  We’re CAN SPAM Act compliant….

I’ve written a few career books in my time and even have a new book out on how to write effective news releases.  If you want to see the new book let me know.

You might learn something from an ol’ timer yet.

Hmmm, I guess I just don’t know how this silly media game works.

Must be because I’m so “closeminded.”

Forget the fact that over the last 8 years, I’ve landed numerous features for my various companies, ventures and clients in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, Newsday, BusinessWeek, FastCompany.com, Adweek, Entrepreneur, Vogue, Self, Elle, Fitness, Outside, Fortune, Yoga Journal, CNBC, Today Show, Fine Living, dozens of other national media outlets and thousands of websites and blogs.

And, I guess getting my own book, which hit the street earlier this year, featured in USA Today, People Magazine, The Miami Herald, Body + Soul, more than 30 major market drive-time radio shows airing in nearly 3,000 markets, FoxBusiness and a torrent of top blogs and social media exposing it to tens of millions of people was just a lark.

Man, if I only knew how this PR thing worked…

Getting past the fact that I clearly just don’t understand how the “real” PR world works, though, I was filled with with warm fuzzies to discover that I’m just one of 36,950 other people and outlets on the pitch list.

Yay me!

This whole exchange is an extraordinary example of what happens when you use decades-old, broadcast-driven tools to try to access the conversation-driven world of social media. The very world that’s growing increasingly critical in the quest to drive buzz, go viral and get the explosive coverage and uptake publicists and clients so desperately clamor for.

Broadcasting into social media alienates those you most want to befriend.

And, frankly, it doesn’t work all that well for mainstream media anymore either. Especially when it comes to books. The old-school publicity-seeking world is wracking its collective brain trying to figure out what works in the world of book promotion these days.

Even if your broadcast campaign lands big print or morning TV (which these days is quite rare), you can’t rely on that to DO anything for your client anymore. Four Hour Workweek author and blogger, Tim Ferriss, has said numerous times he sold more books from a single post on the right blog than he did from an appearance on the Today Show. Heck, I sold more books from a single review on a killer blog than I did from a 1/4 page review in USA Today and a mention in People Magazine…together!

Point being, if the environment you’re operating in has changed in a fundamental way, the answer isn’t to keep applying the old rules and expect the same response. Nor is it to rail against those who stand before you and say, “buddy, it’s not working.”

So, yes, it may be “less than desirable for someone who is practicing in the world of public relations” to have to change your game after so many years.

Tough luck. Deal with it!

Rather than fight it by doing the same tired, old-school thing over and over, by broadcasting to a bigger and bigger media list in the hope that the itty bitty percentage of pick-up will yield some kind of decent results, why not step back and say..

“Damn, this just ain’t working. Let’s go about this a whole different way.”

When we launched Career Renegade, my publishing team and I sent a lot of advance copies to editors, reviewers and bloggers. And, I hand wrote personal notes that were included in nearly every copy that went out. Then, I sent personal e-mails, not anonymous blasts, and DMed most on twitter. And, though I have a lot of relationships with a lot of people across social media who write on a lot of different topics, we only reached out to those I knew would be genuinely interested, whose readers would share that same interest and who knew me and my work as someone who was genuinely invested in the community.

Was that hours of extra work? Yup! Was it worth it?

Let’s see, the book ended up being written about and reviewed on dozens of top blogs, was plastered all over social media, piled up “real” 5-star reviews on amazon, exposing and endorsing it to millions of readers in a matter of days and holding an amazon rank in the hundreds and low thousands for months. Because I’d spent the time to build relationships, to invest in conversation and community and kept it personal right down to the notes that accompanied review copies, people embraced me, my book and my message. And, that was an honor and a gift.

So, forgive me if I don’t really give a crap about the 36,950 other people who are on the pitch list. I care about me, I care about those who are in the conversation, those who’d benefit from joining in…and I care about YOU, my readers.

If that’s not convenient to those doing the pitching…GET OVER IT!

We’re in the midst of a massive shift in PR power.

The world of buzz is changing in a profound way. If you don’t wanna change with it, that’s your problem, not mine.

In fact, if you’re really smart, you’d realize that far from being “less than desirable,” it’s an outright gift…if you take the time to understand how the new rules work (and commit to evolving with them daily). Because, now you don’t have to blast thousands of people, pester them mercilessly begging for a mention, knowing you’re bothering 99% and your efforts will be rebuffed by most.

If you truly get how this newfangled social media neural network is built, you’ll realize that:

  • It’s easier than ever to find the people Malcolm Gladwell calls the sneezers,
  • It’s easier than ever to befriend and build real relationships with them, and
  • If you do it right, you’ll need to cultivate real relationships with far fewer people…

Because, if just a few of the uber-nodes in the social media neural networks like what you’re selling…and they like you, they’ll pass it on. Not just to one person, but to tens or hundreds of thousands. Then a portion of that next level will do the same. And, truth is, in the world of social media, increasingly, everyone’s got a chance to be heard, everyone’s the right person…a potential source of ground-zero evangelical luminance.

And…

What took 36,950 blasts and constant prodding to the point of near manipulation in the quest to reach critical mass in old-media can explode all over the world in the blink of an eye in social media…with a fraction of the work.

So, no, what I’m suggesting is not “less than desirable” for publicists.

Done right, it has the potential to make their jobs, especially those promoting books, vastly easier and a whole lot more enjoyable. If you’re willing to get out of your own way and invest in the conversation.

Does that mean I’ll never use news releases or old school tactics?

Not at all, but I’ll use them in a far more limited and strategic manner, for example, to take my message direct to buyers through keyword driven releases that hit millions of peoples’ inboxes in the form of google alerts. And those become that tactical strike element of the campaign, not the heart and soul.

Listen, I help a ton of people all the time.

I start out every morning on twitter asking “who can I help today?” And, I help people I’ve never met who raise their hands and say, “me, me, me” nearly every single day. But, you’ve got to have invested in being there when I ask to be positioned to raise your hand.

One of the first rules of pitching anyone on doing a favor, especially in the world of social media, is you’ve gotta join in the conversation first. You’ve gotta give a little first. And, at a bare minimum, pretend you know who I am, who my audience is, what I care about and what I write about.

I owe my readers that much…and so do you.

I am very protective of you guys. I’ve worked hard to show you I’m here for the long haul, I respect your time and energy and if I review or pitch something to you, it’s because the person who’s pitched it to me has shown me they care too.

Again, if that’s perceived as “closeminded” or “inconvenient” for the pitchers…

Not my problem.

There’s a new world order in arena of buzz and it’s called conversation.

Ignore it at your peril.

As always, curious, what do you think?

Let’s discuss…

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153 responses

153 Responses to “PR Gone Bad: How to Anger Bloggers and Hose Your Client”

  1. Laura Thornquist says:

    Jonathan:
    You want to know what’s funny? I was just getting ready to send you some information about the power of online video. I was looking through your blog to see if you would be remotely interested in the idea and I read this! Soooo impactful and you nailed it. I hope all PR folks take time to read this article!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Haha! See, you get it. And, even if you’d emailed me and said, “hey, I was thinking about sending you info on X, but I read your blog and haven’t seen you write about it much, are you interested?” I would’ve been happy to reply. FYI – I actually AM interested in the power of online video, especially as it pertains to inciting action. ;-)

    • Bill Eggers says:

      Terrific post Jonathan. My co-author and I have a new book coming out with Harvard Business Press this fall and we are trying to take the time to write thoughtful personalized notes to everyone we think the book might interest. Yes it takes a lot of time–literally weeks–and we won’t be able to reach everyone that way but if I can’t take the time to at least try to do it that way, why should a blogger or columnist take the time to read my book. And where it simply isn’t possible, once getting an email back from you, well then apologies and personal attention would surely be the right course of action. Anyway, your post should be required reading for every publicist and author. Thanks for posting. Best, Bill Eggers.

      • Jonathan Fields says:

        What I think is happening is that a lot of traditional PR folks don’t realize that more established bloggers get pitched possibly as often as established mainstream editors. And, that placements on the right blog can be equally if not more valuable to their clients as placements in mainstream media. There’s a perception that we should just be happy to have made the pitch list and get a free book. Big mistake

  2. Jonathan,

    Love it! Great example of an old-school problem and how to handle it.

    I’m also inspired by the transparency, the sharing of your conversation. I tend to overlook these opportunities to share conversation so often.

    Thanks… now to finish my morning cup-o-Joe so I can see straight… long night!

    Shawn

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Once I realized I could strip enough detail to preserve confidentiality, I figured it was important to share as much verbatim conversation as possible. I know a lot of other people that would’ve actually named names as well

  3. Jim says:

    As a journalist who later moved to p.r., I’m always amazed how many of the more “traditional” p.r. people just don’t get it. There is so much focus on the “pitch” and so little on how your “pitch” can help a journalist or blogger.

    Since I’ve entered the world of p.r., my mantra has always been, “How can I make the journalists job easier.” This can be anything from writing a newsworthy press release that can be dropped directly into place to helping arrange an interview or gather information–even if it doesn’t directly help me place a story at the moment. By helping this time, I’m building a relationship that will lead to future stories.

    The idea that the journalist (or blogger) should somehow bend to the wishes of the p.r. guy, well, as I said, they just don’t get it.

    As a blogger myself, I have also been on the receiving end of book pitches. A recent pitch did the exact opposite of the above. I was contacted with a personal email telling me she enjoys reading my blog (a sports blog) and thought I might be interested in the book. She offered me a review copy of the book and also an interview with the author, a former athlete of the team I blog about who fell into very hard times.

    We chatted back and fourth a few times and actually realized that she used to pitch stories to me back in my newspaper days 20 or so years ago. At this point, because she made the effort to connect with me on a personal level, I would feel almost guilty not writing a post about it.

    I am looking forward to the coming interview, which is an excellent match for my blog (bonus on the p.r. reps. part) and when I asked for an autographed copy to give away on my site, she thought that was a great idea.

    Sure, it stinks that it now takes more then a massive Cisson distribution to succeed and there are still times for the massive press release. It’s knowing when it will work and when to connect on a personal level that is important.

    Just my two cents,

    Jim

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Funny thing is, Jim, I’ve also been doing PR for my own companies and clients for years, so I really do get it, too. But, after spending a lot of time as a blogger, it became super apparent that the rules had changed, so I had to change, too. I wonder, though, how much harder it would have been for me to embrace that change had I been doing it not for 5 or 10 years, but 30 years.

      • phil says:

        Jonathan,

        My friend is writing a book, and asked me to publish it online for her. I have agreed to help her with this, and I am figuring that she is going to ask me to help promote this book for her.

        I am always up for a challenge, however I dont want to spam and offend people.

        If you would be so kind as to offer me some advice on etiqutte to follow, where to start, and maybe some people to contact, I would be gratefull.

        you can shoot me an email phil {at} iteamlv.com

        • Phil, your desire to learn from the mistakes of others is admirable (and smart!) I’m not Jonathan (although you should see me do my impersonation some time) but I’d be glad to share some solid information on how to promote without pitching, spamming, scamming, or offending–in other words, by behaving like a human being. Gimme a shout here, and I’ll get in touch by email, or just use the contact form at my website (click my name.) I promise not to try to sell you anything (or I’d sure like a fool, wouldn’t I?)

  4. Jonathan,

    This is why I am a passionate reader of your work, even though this is the first time I have left a comments. I love it!

    I seem to get pounded by this email nonsense daily. This “shitty email flu” must be going around. Since I am partner in a “technology accelerator” people think they can send retarded emails asking for me to pitch the team on investing in them because that is my job! They don’t take their time to research me – what I have done, what I care about, and what time of deals I like to work with. It’s a losing formula every time.

    And what’s the deal with people thinking they have the world-by-the-tail because they have 35 years of experience. Really? That’s your overwhelming value? Your “moves” are old and tired and that makes you awesome?

    Here is the truth: You are a heartless SOB who is stealing money from clients with a shotgun “I don’t care about anyone but myself” approach… You have given up on demanding excellence from yourself and instead are very happy peddling mediocrity. Instead of caring about what you do, you argue that because you have “books to your name” that makes you an authority on changing the world. You should be ashamed at your inability to compete on behalf of your clients.

    Seriously… I want to go tribal on some of this non-selling BS. It’s an epidemic of “if I hit enough people then I might get lucky that a news source doesn’t already have a story and want to talk to me”.

    I just wrote a post about an email like this I received about a week ago. The email is so bad I had to post it. Take a look: (http://thedewview.com/2009/08/27/your-email-just-punched-me-in-the-eye/)

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Daniel. You’re right, it’s not just about PR, and it’s not even just about sales, it’s the bigger picture need to understand that change happens. You can bang you head against the wall to try to stop it, but that’ll only leave you with a banged up head. You’ve got to grow and adapt. Sure it might require effort and work, but that’s life.

  5. Jim Valeri says:

    Jonathan,

    Perhaps instead you should have responded with your glowing review of “Trust Agents” and show them how its done.

    I love how he used the term “so-called social media.” I’m sorry, but people connecting with people is way sexier than people connecting with [Big Publisher X].

    We all had to learn this lesson and we can help more people for it. And we can do it better.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Haha, that would’ve been, um, a little evil…though, trust me, I thought about it! Yeah the “so called social media” really speaks to how this person views “us.” I wrote this less as a rant, though, and more because I just want to show that things need to change

  6. Dave Soucy says:

    Jonathan,
    great post as always. The real sad part is that this guy’s clients probably don’t even realize the disservice he is providing them. They look at the one interview set up as a job well done, not even realizing the 10 other people he completed alienated in the process. The potential future damage from that could far outweigh the present benefit.

    ~Dave

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Actually the client probably does realize there’s a problem. I checked amazon and for the effort that’s being put into it, the results aren’t all that good

  7. Hi Jonathan – I read this through and thought this guy is never going to realize a $hit$torm even though he’s standing in the middle of it. What an A$$hole. Sorry, I’m not usually this profane.

    We can all fisk his letter until kingdom come, but seriously. . . contacting his publisher with a copy of this post will probably have a better outcome, if you’re inclined. The fact is this guy isn’t representing the publisher properly and ultimately he’s doing a disservice to the author.

    OR, and I sincerely doubt this, if he truly does have dozens and dozens of bloggers responding favorably to his outreach and he is achieving successful placements for his client, well then! He certainly doesn’t need little old you or me to add our measly drops to his glory bucket, now does he?

    We have names for people like this. :D

    All the best,
    Betsy

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Trust me, B, had I hit publish before waiting 24 hours, this post would have been laced with words I don’t want my daughter hearing, lol! I was actually thinking of hitting up the publicity director at the publisher, because they are actually a pretty forward thinking house

  8. Stacy says:

    He has time to type and send his epic autobiography on being a 35-year pitchman, but not a single second to devote to getting to know *you*?

    By the way, just your reprint of the pitch makes me think it’s a total yawner. Could this possibly be made to sound more vague, mainstream, mass-market and irrelevant to my life?

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Great point, so much time spent on the structure and logistics of the pitch, instead of the quality and relevance

  9. I had to howl in laughter when, in his ‘closing shot’, he explains to you he is far too busy being a big-name book publisher and selling books to SPECIFIC techniques to attract a TARGET audience.

    Thoughts for my next ad campaign…hmmm…I’m Trina Grant. People pay me to write. I write the best. Hire me. A lot of other people have. If you don’t you’re stupid.

    Yeah, there’s the ticket. Direct and to the point. Whatever.

  10. John Heaney says:

    Glad to see that Willy Loman is still gainfully employed.

  11. It really is a pity, because with some marketing technology, he can customize each message sent out to the “1700 dailies, 6900 weeklies, 12000 magazines, 8500 radio talk shows, 6500 tv stations and talk shows, 450 news services and syndicates, and 800 plus freelance writers” so that the messages they get are always relevant.

    In fact, he could even track who opened the email message so they never get the exact same email message again.

    With that said, I agree building a relationship with bloggers requires a more personal touch. I would make sure every word in that email message is relevant. Remembering what messages I’ve sent them in the past is also as important.

    I say, ‘having a big list to prospect to, should never get in the way of making sure your message is relevant.’

  12. Ark Lady says:

    @Trina LMAO great ad–sure to get you loads of buzz!

    Enjoyed your rant this am. I’ve been a subscriber via RSS for some time but this was a gem that I had to come in and comment on.

    It really is a sad statement that the publishing world is so slow to move from past models into the new media–which isn’t new anymore IMHO.

    I moderate all my comments and find that many media people spam the comment areas with long pitches without consideration of what is on the blog or if there is a fit.

    In addition, I do get the email pitches and today just immediately spam them. I use forms these days to try and mitigate some of the issues but it always amazes me just how many people think they have free license to send “junk mail” via electronics.

    Just as protective of my mailbox (it is a private service) I don’t appreciate junk mail in the physical or electronic form.

    Thanks for the great rant–enjoyably read during my am coffee/wake-up period.

    ;-)

  13. [...] This post was Twitted by robblewis [...]

  14. Suzi Craig says:

    Jonathan – thank you for sharing. The only way we can get “old schoolers” to understand that the blueprint has changed (or is there a blueprint to even follow?) is to keep bringing these situations to the masses.

    We can learn a lot from professionals who have been in the PR and marketing biz for 35+ years, if they’d just stop fighting the inevitable. Do they not understand that we all now have a place in the new world? And we have a responsibility to add intelligence and insight to the conversation and how we interact.

    To PR folks: embrace and learn from everyone in the conversation. You are holding on to the retaining wall that has already collapsed. Stop drowning and get on board!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Great points, I just keep wondering how powerful it would be to blend 35 years of experience and relationships with new conversational strategies and approaches. The few people I know who are doing this are largely, to steal a phrase from Gary V, crushing it.

  15. Great post! Small nit to pick: I think Seth Godin coined the term “sneezers”, in The Idea Virus. Gladwell called them Connectors (or was it Persuaders? It’s been awhile since I read The Tipping Point).

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Hehe, yeah, after a while it all blurs together, lol! Though I love pretty much everything they both write.

  16. Chris Cree says:

    It’s the classic “numbers game” mentality in play. His basic defense boils down to, “your way is too hard.” Instead of learning from someone offering advice he shouts, “Do you know who I am??!”

    Um, if he opened his mind a little, approached you with even the slightest bit of humility he might come to find out that he can accomplish much more with a whole lot less effort. When we stop learning we start becoming irrelevant.

    Dumb doesn’t even begin to cover it.

  17. Andy Hayes says:

    I’m not sure what’s worse: the fact that they sent out that sleazy, spammy crap in the first place or that the guy tried to justify his ridiculousness in response!

    *shakes head*

    Thanks for calling a spade a spade, Jonathan, and giving everyone more examples on stuff that works… or in this case, shall I say, stuff that doesn’t work! (Although – this crappy press release DID get a mention in a major blog, but I’m not sure it was the way the author intended… *wink*)

  18. I also find it interesting that the guy took so much personal offense to your decline. Surely, in his immense 35 year career, this isn’t his first rejection of a pitch? He just makes himself sound petty and pouty in all of his retorts.

    I have to laugh now, as I just got an email decline for an interview I pitched to a local news station. I guess I should email them a response about what a huge opportunity they missed and they will regret it to their dying day? Or is that the wrong approach, I’m so confused…

    Thanks for the great post!

  19. Mike CJ says:

    Fascinating post Jonathan and topical for me. If I may, I’d like to relate a conversation with a PR lady the other day who kept telling me her role was to tell as many people as possible about my book. After she’d said it three times, I stopped her and said: “Actually, no it isn’t. Your job is to sell as many books as possible.” She replied “Well it’s the same thing isn’t it?” And that was when I realized she wasn’t the right person for me.

  20. Wow! Ironic shame was exactly what I grabbed onto also. I always read bad pitch posts to make sure I never put myself in that situation but honestly, how are people so dumb? At the very least, once they realize they’ve screwed up, why make it worse by insulting you? After all, if you are so inconsequential in light of “real media” — why are they even sending you the pitch?? Thanks for sharing so that PR practitioners can take these lessons to heart.

  21. Although this post was painful to read – all that denial and defensiveness – the whole thing actually puts a smile on my face. How wonderful that the world is changing in ways that require people to be more human when doing their jobs. Imagine … actually having to think about people as people and not just entries in some massive mailing list database.

    I completely understand that sending personalized emails to thousands of people is a daunting task. Duh. However, as has been suggested, working smarter instead of harder won’t require that kind of inane busy work. Figuring out who will really care, building those key relationships, and then partnering with those people (instead of using them like human billboards) to reach for a shared goal … THAT’S how it should be done today.

    Reading Trust Agents now and I have to say that I hope the evolution of how we use the social Web includes a selective down-sizing of our individual networks … plugging into only those groups and conversations that are truly relevant to each of us, but reaching further than the boundaries of those smaller tribes through the efforts and interest of others.

    Thanks for sharing your “conversation” – really helps to make the issues clear.

  22. Writer Dad says:

    Well, hats off Jonathan. Not only did you handle the email exchange well, you also articulated your points in the post beautifully. It’s a prime example of the old guard unwilling to change. I’m with you, one size fits all inquiries always get a straight delete.

  23. Jonathan: unbelievable, and it’s terrible you had to go through all that to make a point that should be so simple to understand. These ‘old school’ PR people should learn from the way consumer companies do channel management: You don’t use the same techniques, products or prices when selling to a mass merchant as opposed to, for example, an industrial distributor. Similarly, you don’t approach bloggers the same way you approach traditional media. Why this is so difficult to grasp is beyond me. Thanks for posting about this experience and opening it for discussion.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      That’s exactly the point, you’ve to know your market, then adapt your approach to connect with them.

  24. You have GOT to be kidding me?!!!! Oh Jonathan you were much more civil than I would have been. The “holier than thou” tone of voice, justifying his canned approach, is apalling. And he even used one of my very favorite lines “I’m sorry you feel that way.” He is apologizing for how you feel?! How has he kept his job? Sorry – now I’m gettng all worked up. :-) I have a few friends in the book and pr world that I am forwarding this post to. Thank you for sharing it in all it’s gory splendor.

  25. Naomi Niles says:

    Yay! Love these Jonathan rants. :)

    I don’t know enough about it to know which method gets more numbers, but I definitely prefer your way. It’s just so much more fun to connect with real people.

  26. Steve Early says:

    HA HA — Good for you Jonathan!! I can’t believe the idiot kept writing back to explain himself when he should have just apologized and moved on! Nicely done.

    Steve

  27. [...] This post was Twitted by chris_bailey [...]

  28. [...] This post was Twitted by naominiles [...]

  29. Shane Arthur says:

    That guy has 35 years experience pitching media, but apparently never bothered to practice proofreading. I see 3 errors in his original email — besides the untimate one of being a dick.

    Regards
    Shane

  30. Dinosaur, meet meteor.

    Meteor, meet dinosaur.

    Any questions?

  31. Cat Poland says:

    Funny how those who don’t “get it” think that online communications have depersonalized us when really the opposite is true. And those that “get it” will read this and say, “thanks for pointing out the obvious dummy!” :-)

  32. Alison Kerr says:

    Isn’t it interesting that while the PR person didn’t have the time to contact you personally to “pitch” they seemingly had all the time in the world to respond with personal criticism!

    I love that bloggers are real people. We don’t hide behind a corporate shield. Hopefully the people who’d like to work with us will figure that out. If not, they won’t be working with us!

    And good job on ditching that PR lady MikeCJ.

  33. Great post Jonathon, and I definitely agree with the points you made. I’d like to play Devil’s Advocate though because I’m curious about the PR person’s statements about that particular pitch having one of the highest response rates that he’s ever seen, and the fact that he’s been doing this way for 35 years and has at least been fairly successful. Maybe he’s lying about that pitch having a high response rate, but let’s accept that as the truth. Even though it seems slimy and definitely alienates a few people can the mass mailing approach still be effective? If the goal is to obtain interviews or get press, and it’s being accepted well percentage-wise isn’t that a successful result. I definitely believe that your methods are more effective especially over the long term, but if you’re short on time can you apply this mass approach and get results? Or is it always a bad thing to do?

    • monica levy says:

      bryan, not sure what jonathan would say but i think it really depends on the content. despite a crappy pitch, good content can (and should) still win the day. bloggers have a responsibility to their readers, which (imho) outweighs the quality of the pitch that might contain something worthwhile for the audience. it sucks, and i agree that the rules have changed and that the dinosaurs oughtta come in before they’re flattened by the meteors, but in the end you’ve gotta do what you’re supposed to do irrespective of the challenges.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Hey Bryan, No hard and fast rules, here. All I can say is you should really know the market you’re trying to tap, then adapt your approach to best connect with that market. Even when that market is “so called social media.”

  34. lol Great post Jonathan.

    I’ll give Mr 35 year professional something, he’s not short in self-importance. Obviously being and arrogant tw@ got you somewhere back in the days.

    Good self restraint from you too. Personally I think I would have replied to his last email with two words :)

    @EvenFlowDave

  35. Wow. I’m totally in shock. Jaw hanging open shock. I can’t believe this guys responses to you and the snide and condescending way he defends his “you are just a number” approach to PR. Freaking shocking.

    It’s a good window into the world of yester-year (and those who cling to it)- and it gives me hope for where we are and are increasingly headed- people who get it that NO ONE is a number, and real, meaningful relationships are what matter. It’s not just changing the face of marketing, it’s changing the way the world operates in profound and wonderful ways.

    And your gracious “who can I help today” morning Twitter greeting makes me smile everyday.

  36. Wow, is all I can say. I own a decent-sized PR shop. About 4 or 5 years ago I told my staff that we need to be constantly learning because if down the road we are still a traditional PR shop then we will be an irrelevant PR shop. We take learning very seriously. And what was our breakthrough discovery? Start with a question: who, exactly, does the client need to reach? I know — not exactly rocket science. And then put the time and effort in to learn about the myriad media — traditional and new — that effectively engage with these audiences. Because you are right, it’s much more valuable to get 500 people who care to learn about a client’s work than 50,000 people who could care less. It’s taken some effort to get clients to understand that but they do. As far as other PR firms, that certainly varies. I continue to be stunned by PR firms that we “collaborate” with who are still trying to make the model that worked when I started 25 years ago work today. Wow.

  37. Wow! He or she is definitely a silver-tongued devil. Not only did he completely dismiss you as 1/36950th of his alleged audience, but he manages to dismiss you on the grounds of both experience and age.

    Sadly, this letter probably worked well enough for the sender to keep his or her job.

  38. Tim Baran says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience, Jonathan. I could feel my temperature rising as I read your post. I can’t imagine a more appropriate response, though I’m not sure I would’ve had the restraint to do the same :)

    This resonates beyond publishing, public relations, or any specific niche, to simply, respect and courtesy in our interactions, conversations, engagements – be it email, telephone, SMS, face-to-face or social media platforms.

  39. Ed Gaile says:

    I see this as another example of someone who is entrenched in “traditional” or “conventional” thinking. After 35 years I would imagine this person would have seen varying shifts and changes in the PR world and adapted accordingly. The shift that is going on is massive and like Tim said above it does not just apply to the PR industry. Wait I just skimmed back up and saw Martine’s comment – awesome.

  40. [...] This post was Twitted by CarolineDohack [...]

  41. Jeb says:

    The best part of the whole exchange is that you let him end it. Regardless our perspective, our values, our job is to live by it/them. It would have been so easy for you to retort in a way that put him in his place, that your readers could have enjoyed/supported. But when someone thinks so differently than you, telling them they ought to change never works. Maintaining your standards is the only way.

    A well thought out and rational argument will never compare to living a life that reflects it in deed. Thank you for a fine example.

  42. This post (and these smart comments) should be required reading for anyone new (and old for that matter) to PR or social media marketing. An epic example of bad PR, thanks for sharing and letting us know what NOT to do.

  43. Marie Forleo says:

    Wow! Amazing post. Just found you via Twitter via Sarah R ;) I love how transparent our world is becoming…and how entrepreneurs who truly connect and care about the people they serve are rising to huge success. Thank you so much for this!

  44. Tana says:

    This guy sounds like Dimitri the lover.

    http://www.caffiene-fueled.com/2008/07/how-not-to-court-a-woman-the-dimitri-olga-voicemail-saga/

    Please send my comment to him and tell him he curdled my breakfast tea in my stomach.

  45. Tyler Hurst says:

    Apparently brevity is not a common skill.

  46. Juan - unemployed PR guru says:

    Jonathan,

    This isn’t the first time I’ve read about PR pitch fails, but this one was especially intriguing as it is so bad, it almost seems fake! What self-proclaimed PR pro of 35 years, thinks arguing with media they’re targeting is an effective approach?

    That aside, I think some PR people are reluctant to change because they have trouble convincing their clients that the mass-email, shotgun approach doesn’t work. Instead, they try and force their crappy pitches on any reporter with an email account. Of course, this technique is justified the minute they get “results”.

    I’m a PR noob with only 3 years experience. I got my feet wet in an agency for a few years and I was expected (and taught) to send these mass email pitches about things nobody cared about (Um – company announces new flavour of gum?). It was frustrating, but what bothered me most was when I raised concerns with senior consultants, they usually blamed the client for not “getting it” or justified it by saying that junior people usually get crappy tasks like that.

    Where’s the accountability?

    I met a lot of other people like me who hated this approach, but nobody willing to speak up and manage our clients’ expectations. Unfortunately, the customer (client) is always right and if you condition your clients to believe they can have million dollar results on hundred dollar budgets (effort/time), then you’re doing everyone (media included) a disservice.

    I no longer work at that agency. I have since been laid off from a different PR gig and have been unemployed for 6 months. I refuse to settle for another company that advocates this lazy, useless approach to pitching (it’s not just PR agencies).

    I don’t like not working, but if the alternative is spamming people who don’t want to hear from me, well then, I’d rather work at McDonalds. At least then I’d be able to respect my career choice.

    (Sorry for the lengthy comment – but apparently I’m more passionate about this topic than I thought)

  47. jskipburns says:

    this is a really awesome post. I’ll be honest and say that I signed up for your newsletter because you got props on The Art of Nonconformity blog. I now realize why those props were given and I’m going to reread your old updates.

    keep it up

    skip “predictably unpredictable” burns

  48. Elliot Ross says:

    Hey Jonathan it was not all bad!

    I mean gender was right – spelling of name was right!

    I mean what more could you want ;-)

    Sorry – could not resist….

    And to the commenters – thanks for the chuckles …. (meteor meet dinosaur – still laughing!)

  49. Melanie Preece says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    As a person who works in a PR agency, I found your post to be extremely enlightening. It was passed on to me by a colleague of mine who has shared it with our entire office. I think it is amazing to see social media impact the way PR practitioners do their job. Not everyone likes change, and it is difficult to transition with the changing face of media. I hope your post reaches all PR practitioners out there. There are always ways of improving our practices (in any industry) and many of us can learn a lot, if we just listen to what is being requested. Thank you for the insightful post, and learning more about the flip-side of our industry.

    Cheers,
    Melanie

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Actually, my great hope is that this post gets passed through every PR office in the country, big and small, and serves as a point of conversation. I don’t have all the answers, but I think it’s time the people who are front and center start asking a lot more questions and exploring new paths. Some big agencies are doing that really well. Others…

  50. Jim Vickers says:

    Jonathan,

    The thing I find most amazing is that “Mr PR” took the time out of his busy schedule to read your note and then to respond to you!

    Jim

  51. Artchick1 says:

    Damn, you’re good! Got a real hoot out of your response and also to the “old media” retort. I thought this was such a great post and I RT’d on Twitter even though I am a newbee in social media I find I am very passionate about using it. I come from the MadMen generation of advertising and I am having a ball with “new media” learning every day from the gurus who are willing to share their stuff! I would be lost (even more than I am at this point) without you right now. I am a new subscriber to your newsletter ( a few days) and am about to launch a new business project than can only succeed using social media. Hopefully one day soon, I will be able to reach out and ask for your help when you put the word out on Twitter after I get my new DYI website up.

  52. This post was dead-on, Jonathan. Lucid and calm, which is very difficult in these exasperating situations. Just today I had an icky encounter with one of these yahoos. I asked him (politely, I might add) months ago to remove me from his press release list. He said “sure” and I said “thank you.” We’re sooooper nice here in the midwest, doncha know.

    Then he sent me another pitch today. I reminded him of his promise, generously said I would give him *one more chance* to remove my name but after that I would be reporting him.

    His reply? “Dear Ms. Burton*, That was an unfortunate mistake on our side, we went back to a back-up copy of our distribution lists. You have been removed from the list, threatening to report us is really neither necessary nor helpful.”

    Actually, reporting him was probably necessary and definitely helpful. But instead I blocked his email permanently and wiped my hands of the entire situation.

    *Yep. That’s right. Dude couldn’t even get my name right.

  53. Traci says:

    Jonathan:
    What a great post! I thought I was the only person who sent those types of replies to blind PR emails. It warms my heart to be in such good company.

    Just this week, a mystery shipment showed up in our PO box. I didn’t recognize the return address as being anyone I’d recently corresponded with, so I was intrigued to see what was inside. You can imagine my surprise when I opened the box to see a plastic tote with a dozen assorted pairs of therapeutic support trouser socks, thigh highs, and pantyhose. It was a nice gesture, even if it did make me feel like it’s about 30 years too soon for me to need such things. Oh, and there’s the fact that I publish a business magazine…

    All joking aside, I love to receive relevant pitches, and I endeavor to cover them all. But, depending upon how much caffeine I’ve had or how many other such spammy pitches I’ve received that day, the guy that sent me the pitch may well find himself on the receiving end of a diatribe on the finer points of pitching to us.

    Perhaps I need those supportive socks after all. :-)

  54. When we connected on Triiibes and you mailed me, in a HAND ADDRESSED package a preview copy of your book WITH A HAND-WRITTEN NOTE inside, I was sold, before I even read it.

    Then, I read it, and started hammering (gently, but insistently) everyone I know who needed to read it. Not even sure how many copies I’ve nudge folks into buying.

    It wasn’t ONLY the content. It was the fact that you treated me like a human being. I will be part of your street team until the cows come home.

    @John Heaney: sweet merciful heavens that’s funny

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Joel, I’ll always remember that whole experience. Seth was the one who really cemented the whole concept of tribes for me. And, I’m eternally grateful for your non-stop renegade evangelizing! :-)

  55. [...] This post was Twitted by JenniferFleet [...]

  56. I got an email like that from someone asking me to do an internet radio show.

    Except the email was like “my research assistant gave me your information, please look at this website and then call me”. At first I was tempted, but as I was poring over the website I realized I was doing an AWFUL LOT OF WORK to try and figure out whether this was an opportunity or a scam. Or an opportunity that would fit me and create a mutually beneficial relationship.

    He had no idea who I was and hadn’t bothered to tell me what they do and how I can help or be involved.

    DELETE.

    You’re right, Jonathan.

  57. Doug Edgar says:

    Wow, what an amazing experience. I’m not into mass solicitations. I might be missing out on some gems among the debris but I’m doing okay without them. That guy is an example of an entitlement mentality – that he is entitled to do whatever is necessary (or what he wants) to sell his product.

    Thanks for standing up for those of us who resent mass mailing, spam, junk mail and telemarketers.

  58. Robert Fay says:

    I am baffled. I am surprised at my gut reaction to the “PR Guy”. I liked him. I didn’t take all that much offense to his initial offer nor his response. I learned a lot. I didn’t know about the different media “outlets” or the respective numbers they represent. But wait, why didn’t I take any great deal of offense …. and why was I baffled at the vehemence it aroused in your initial reaction Jonathan, and clearly in the clan response of those who have commented? Something seem out of place.

    Why was it no big deal for me to internally say, “Yeah, sure, send me the books. I’ll take a look and if there is something I can respond to – if there is something positive I can say, I will. Of course, then too, I don’t have tons of people hounding me to do stuff for them. Hell, I don’t have anyone hounding me. So, I guess I can get it that you felt put upon and didn’t know how to just say yes and let it go if there was nothing there when the books arrived. I guess I am trained to the “pitch” and am comfortable with making a determination if the produce “sells” me. I don’t need to be massaged and stroked and am more afraid of that manipulation and deceit, in fact, than the straight up “I’m selling you this” approach. For me, that is somehow more honest in its feel.

    You and your efforts to bring together the information in Career Renegade have been my guide and inspiration to identify what I can bring to the table. [my website is in its last stages of QA testing to be sure that its clientele get the correct email attachment response to their questions (1 of 18 possible out of a 3 x 6 matrix)]. Your insights about connecting to the blogs that I am interested in and the mavens was something I would not have thought was the correct thing to do … it would have seemed impolite. I guess it is my concern about seeming smarmy and trying to ingratiate my way into someone’s good graces.

    Then I thought, wait, this PR Guy has 35 years experience, probably after finally getting into this work at about 25, making him or her 60 years old or more. Then I though, most of the generations after that never had much attention paid to them, as their parents were both working and trying to keep up with the “fashion” or “status” that the selfish Hippie generation adopted for itself.

    It would never occur to a 60 year-old to curry favor and tend the self-interested sensitivities of the “younger” generations that are so self-centered, all the while pretending to be interested in the PC sensibilities of the world. It would never occur to that age group that anyone would feel so inadequate so as to need that, though that age group was the original self-absorbed “if it feels good do it” selfish generation. The difference is that they were coddled and “made-of” by their WW II two-parent homes, one parent of which was generally home. This negated the sense of abandonment and self-doubt that much of the youth today carry deep within. It also made that Hippy generation self-important and defiant all at the same time.

    I speak directly to the proposition of this because I do not understand the anger and over sensitive hostility that I feel reeking from the web commentary I read. It baffles me and saddens me. It scares me too … a lot.

    God, what would people think of me?!!! And would that bring up the “stick their heads on a pike” mirthful irreverence that is my root temperament and that scared the hell out of the KGB when I studied at Moscow University (‘73) and saw and was told what they had planned for the capitalist world via Saul Alinsky and what they knew would arise as his offspring in 40 years time because of the Hippy generation’s psychiatric profile?

    What would happen if the web generation didn’t feel so …. I don’t know the phrase … and just tried to make a friend out of this PR Guy. What would happen, Jonathan, if you grabbed some time and had some beers or wine or whisky with this guy and made a friend without demanding of yourself some expectations? Yeah, I know, life is too important and short to bother. But what if there was a great second or third degree connection that could spool out of it?

    What if this guy was really a great type of guy who didn’t have a clue about how to use the email management systems that your knowledgeable commentators referenced. Hell, I don’t, so maybe there are others who don’t also. It is scary stuff, believe me! I hadn’t even seen the Internet until 8 or 10 months ago, but look at me now … running my mouth like I actually have something to say that might be useful.

    Mirthful Irreverence, that is what I say. Stay balanced all.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Robert, thanks so much for sharing your experience. I figure you’re right about this person’s age. Thing is, I don’t think this is an age thing. I’m in my mid forties and have plenty of friends in their 50s and 60s. It’s much more about mindset, placing yourself in the shoes of the person you are blindly asking to do a substantial favor.

      Reading a book, then creating a thoughtful review takes a lot of time. Time away from my family, my community, other books, friends and colleagues. And, a glowing review on a popular blog has lot of economic value.

      So, when someone asks me to give them a significant chunk of time, one of my most precious assets, followed by a chunk of my community’s time in reading whatever I write, that’s got value. Real value. So, that’s part one.

      But, part two is just simple courtesy. This information may have been new to some, not to me. But the person who wrote it was working on the assumption that I needed to be schooled by someone way more experienced and way more successful. Those are big assumptions. And, wrong assumptions.

      One of my greatest passions is learning. I devour knowledge. I know very well how the world of mainstream PR has worked for years, because I’ve operated in it for years. And, I’ve chosen to take a different approach because that world is changing rapidly. But, our PR person never thought to ask. And, in doing so immediately sought to place themselves “above” me, superior to me. Any anyone who’s ever tried to connect and persuade knows what a big mistake that can be.

      So, no, this isn’t an age thing. I couldn’t care less how young or old you are. I’ll be your friend, your colleague, your partner, your student, your mentor. But, I do care a lot about how you treat those around you…including me.

      He may well be a good guy. He may just be responding to fear of change. I don’t know. Thing is…it’s his business to know, and to grow. It isn’t a hobby. It’s his profession.

      Either way, when his fundamental purpose was to get me to do him a big favor. In the end, he failed.

      Think of it this way. This post has gotten thousands of pageviews…that could’ve been his review. :-)

      • Cindy C. says:

        “It’s much more about mindset, placing yourself in the shoes of the person…”

        Isn’t that what most quality interaction boils down to? Just had this conversation yesterday w/a friend. She owns a store, and it seemed like customers were being extremely rude all day. I reminded her of when I was a cashier at a store and had a horrible customer..rude to me and everyone else in the line. When she finally got up to the register, she said she was sorry to me, but her husband was in the car alone and he had Alzheimer’s and she had no help. It was almost 100 degrees out that day. It was a HUGE lesson in remembering to put myself in someone else’s shoes. You just never know. I try to treat people like I want to be treated. It seems so simple, I often wonder how so many people miss it. Trained out of them??

        Great post. First I’ve even heard of you. Will definitely be back!! :)

  59. Leslie Lannan says:

    Hi Jonathan — “Ironic shame” is irresistible, but my other fav is: “You are JUST one of over ¾ of a million journalists listed.” Ouch. Thanks so much for the post illuminating once again, sometimes the best lesson is a wretched one.
    ps. I luv your manifesto! Elegant, simple and incredibly useful. Leslie

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Yeah, I didn’t want to parse the entire response, my post was already at 2,500 words. ;-)

  60. Geocoda says:

    Jonathan,

    Terrific post and great comments.

    Some of us over at Pamela Slim’s “Escape from Cubicle Nation” forum have been trying to work through the continuities and disruptions underlying the evolution of what I suppose we will now have to term “the so-called social media.” Your comments in this post are insightful, and I’m sure we’ll be batting them around for a long time.

    We also share your interest in online video that incites action. I hope you will re-visit this theme soon and often.

    Re: the case at hand — I have a hard time believing this guy has been a successful PR practitioner for 35 years. He can’t write worth a damn. You were very considerate to offer him a rational explanation of your point of view. I think I would simply have asked him to define the phrase “ironic shame.”

    @ Juan — unemployed PR guru: don’t give up on PR as a profession. History is on your side.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Thing is, I readily admit I don’t have all the answers, but I also understand that the world of attention is changing at lightning speed. And, I’m open to exploring and changing with it. Plus, the conversational “so called social media” approach is not only eqally if not more effective, it’s a lot more fun.

  61. Sarah Bray says:

    So funny. I’m sure that last email took him FOREVER to write. Which is kind of gratifying, considering the “I don’t have time to address you personally” excuse. Man, people need to just know that community they’re in. They need to understand the culture before infiltrating. That’s it.

  62. Lori Enos says:

    Jonathon,
    Great post. I have to admit that I started searching out other blogs and starting to comment as a way to give back and get my links out there, but since I’ve started reading other blogs, I’ve realized that I’m learning so much more by connecting with “real people” and having conversations than by reading canned news. I’m a magazine junkie, but I have to say that my magazine reading has gone way down as I search out those real people and listen to what they have to say. Although a lot of people think the web is anonymous and cold, I’ve always found it to be a warm and welcoming place where I connect with folks with similiar interests and that will change the way we communicate.
    Thanks,
    Lori

  63. I like your post, but I don’t think I’m getting this.

    If you were so offended at the form email, why not just ask to be removed from the list and delete it? You got pissed, insulted him, and he replied, very personally to you and at great length.

    They use those old ways because they still work. Doesn’t mean it works for everyone, but it does work. Like long sales letters, paper junkmail and all that.

    You have an email list you send out too. You don’t write personal messages to each person on that list, you send out the form letter (like everyone does…again, because it works).

    It’s great that you were able to personalize your books when you sent them out hoping for good buzz. It was your baby, and you needed it to do well I’m sure. And there is nothing wrong with that at all. It’s fantastic. When you’re dealing with the kind of scale this mystery publicist is, certain mass-targeted marketing probably works well for them though. It’d be interesting to see his numbers of books they end up sending out.

    You were included in the same mass mailing as Time Magazine and CNN. I don’t see how it is an insult to offer you the book. They considered you a valuable enough media source to pitch or you wouldn’t have been on the list at all (I didn’t get the letter, if it makes you feel any better).

    Sure they are trying to drum up publicity for their product, hope you like it and say good stuff about it just like you did with your book, but maybe you could learn something of value from the book. Or simply say “no thanks.”

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Hey James, actually, that’s exactly what I did, I asked to be removed and never insulted him. That was the end of it in my mind. Reread the sequence. And, the big difference with my “list” is that (a) it’s not a list, its a community and (b) it’s double opt-in, meaning people have asked me to share information with them, then confirmed it twice. Also, the scale of the “result” we were striving for was the same, we just went about it very, very differently.

    • No, the pitchman didn’t “reply personally” to him, he lectured him like he was a dim-witted schoolboy from the wrong side of the tracks. That screed was so offensive in its know-it-all arrogance that I could hardly believe that a PR professional had written it.

      That’s not a conversation, or a connection. It was the pitchman expecting the blogger to fawn all over his oh, so superior experience, skills and product while he threw him a bone for being a “good bloggie”.

  64. Roy murphy says:

    I love this old of guy if he spent a hundreth of his energy listening rather than talking utter tosh he might not be extinct in two years. Dodo pr, night night

  65. Hi Jonathan,

    well, I’m quite new to blogging, but I see your point. I’m living proof. I found out about Career Renegade through twitter, wondered who this guy Jonathan Fields who was following me was, discovered two great blogs, an outstanding book, more great blogs, got inspired to start blogging myself after reading CR… and I live across the ocean in Norway!

    Mr. Publicist may have his view on PR, but I’ll say your approach is solid :)

    Keep writing & inspiring people :)
    All the best,
    Lars-Christian

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Hey Lars, thanks for sharing your journey, so glad the renegade tide is reaching around the world. :-)

  66. Barry Goss says:

    Jonathan, as information publishers who focus our time, research, and writing in the area of personal-achievement, self-help, personal growth, metaphysics (hell, whatever you want to call helping people get the “best” out of themselves and life), I can attest to one very hard-to-refute fact:

    The niche (not so sure I want to call it an “industry :) is full of schizophrenic, insecure, extremely pretentious, holier-than-thou teachers/coaches/mentors. And, I can’t begin to tell you how many “you must join me to save the world with my book” offers we’ve gotten. Usually, they’re dripping in some of the most ungrounded, non-business like drivel and sanctimonious concoctions the mind could ever conjure up.

    So, a big high-five to you for responding the way you did. Truly, Heather and I have been taking a very…most would say… maverick… role when it comes to putting a critical-examination on this niche. We often take a contrarian approach to our research and insights.

    A few that comes to mind that you and your readers may find deeply-entertaining are:

    “How Not To Fool Yourself (or, Your Ghost):
    http://www.lwlurl.com/fool

    And, shorter (and easier to read is):

    “Are You A Visionary..or.. A Fraud”
    http://heathervale.com/blog/2009/09/01/are-you-a-visionary-or-a-fraud/

    Keep up the authentic, no-nonsense work Jonathan.

  67. @Robert Fay, who asked, “What if this guy was really a great type of guy who didn’t have a clue about how to use the email management systems that your knowledgeable commentators referenced.”

    Umm, I’m 55. Presumably this guy was writing the second email himself. There’s no excuse for this kind of rudeness associated with any pitch, no matter how old you are. Period. What, is this guy the Gordon Gecko of PR or something? It’s clear that he isn’t used to making relationships. Too bad.

    @Joel Canfield
    Hey! Cheers to you and Sue!

    • Howdy, Betsy! I’m with you on the age thing. I’m not yet at the half-century mark, but one of our newest clients is a chiropractor in his late 60s who’s fired up about social media and appropriate self-promotion because he truly gets this kind of stuff.

      • Jonathan Fields says:

        I really don’t think it’s an age thing as much as it’s a mindset thing

  68. Fiona Boyd says:

    Jonathan what an amazing experience. I’m really glad you responded here and really amazed at this guy’s arrogance. How he’s been doing things for 35 years does not mean he’s been doing them well – surely he gets that. He’d prefer to bully you into submission than take the relevant feedback you gave him, and refine his pr process. Amazing, I must say the escalation made my stomach churn. Such aggression, so much tit-for-tat, so little encouragement of the product he’s meant to be promoting. Such dismissal in the face of useful feedback! Does he still have a job?

  69. Maybe you could send him your review of Trust Agents and show him how its done.

    I love how he uses the terms “So-Called Social Media.” What’s So-called about it? Its about connecting with people…you know, human beings, rather than looking at them from the perspective of dollar signs and poll numbers…or cattle.

    Sounds like he’s suffering from adjustment disorder, as he’s having difficulty adjusting to the reality of technology in the lives of human beings.

  70. Gsp says:

    I’d like to say that like Robert Fay, I wasn’t particularly annoyed by the original pitch letter, or it’s wording – but then, on the other hand I’m not bombarded by hundreds of pitch letters. If you put it in the context of some other form of impersonal spam we are all bombarded by Robert, it makes a lot more sense. Don’t you ever delete spam, & wouldn’t you ask to be removed from a mailing list if you kept getting unsolicited emails?

    I don’t begrudge the PR guy the first 2 attempts, but equally not Jonathans reactions to his emails either.

    And regarding what you say towards the end of your comment, about Jonathan grabbing some time and beers with this PR guy – isn’t that kinda similar to all Jonathan was asking of this PR guy? That he bother to take some time to maybe establish a relationship & treat him as an individual human, & not a checkbox on his list of 36,950 entries to mass mail?

    And let’s not forget that at the end of the day, this PR guy’s the one who’s asking for something of Jonathan – not vice versa.

    • “And let’s not forget that at the end of the day, this PR guy’s the one who’s asking for something of Jonathan – not vice versa.”

      Great big ‘Bingo!’

      Ask me for a favor, then act like you don’t care about me—when did *that* ever work? At least have the chutzpah to suck up to me before you ask me for a favor. (I’m a sucker for free food, in case you’re wondering.)

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Agreed, the original email was just plain spam. When it was sent twice, I asked to be removed. That should’ve been the end of it. It’s what came next that escalated.

  71. Great post, Jonathan, and a good example of the people out there who don’t yet understand how to really connect with people past spammy emails. My favorite part though? The fact that after he tells you it’s an “ironic shame” you don’t want to read the book he’s pitching, he tries to see if you want a copy of HIS book! I’m still laughing at him for that!

  72. Anna says:

    As always, beautifully handled. It’s amazing how people perceive personalizing things as beneath them…B to B is changing, and with your help, my friend.

    You must read this post I just happened upon, too. You two need to connect: http://theblevinsblog.wordpress.com/2009/09/03/douchebag-jamboree/#comment-134

    Forge on!

  73. It’s clear they lost a BIG opportunity by not striking the right tone with you. However, it’s a far more to the point pitch than I’ve had sometimes. I had a publisher not take the trouble to find my email address. Which is really not hard to find. They left something like the above as a comment on my blog. Totally off topic to the blogpost of course.

    I would personally not have had a problem with this pitch. But then, I’m still flattered every time someone wants me to review a book or movie. It happens several times a year, but not so often yet that I get picky about the free books. I am picky about what I actually do review: it has to fit my readers and it has to be good.

    I would have become annoyed at the repeat too though. People sending me repeat mails without personalizing it, that really bugs me. Especially when they bypass the spamfilter. I guess I don’t mind a mass email once. But follow ups should be either left, or personalized. And then getting into a heated argument without having researched you long enough to see that you might know what you are talking about. But then, online communication is a skill and not everybody has it. And they may not know they do not have it.

  74. Kelly says:

    Jonathan,

    I have been getting these “requests” *constantly* for the last couple of months. I must have landed on some awful list… having read this, I think I have an idea of just how awful the list may be. Ugh. I feel for you. I ignore them when it’s clear they don’t know me from a hole in the ground, but I admit it gets annoying when the second notices come in: “Dear Kelly MaximumCustomerExperience, I emailed you last week, why haven’t you responded?”

    Um, because you clearly don’t even know that you emailed me. Hit “Spam” button, again.

    Last week I got one that didn’t bother to try to connect with me with another variation on my name or the name of the blog. The subject line was “You blog.”

    Therefore I give a darn about your author? When that’s your opening line? This is like “you’re female” as a pickup line at a bar. I’ve been slimed.

    In my couple of years of blogging I’ve learned that blog authors are open, generous, and LOVE to promote people and things that resonate with them and have the power to connect with their readers. For free. Nobody’s got to send me a book or twist my arm to give love at MCE, and I know so many folks including you who are the same way.

    P.R. folks who don’t get this—that well-introduced and well-targeted, we’d do it for nothing and do all the time—are wasting their efforts. Better to connect deeply (or at least shallowly!!) with 100 well-chosen blog authors than to spam a hundred thousand. Between the p.r. people and the authors themselves, just having a couple of folks commenting now and then for a month before emailing me would earn eternal (surprise and) interest in everything they do. It ain’t rocket science, it’s relationships. Even a fleeting one is better than this junk.

    Thanks for the post. I laughed and howled with you.

    Regards,

    Kelly

  75. Dan Holloway says:

    This is priceless. If this PR person is so keen to put you down and show that you know nothing, why would they bother spamming you twice to get you to pimp their book?

    “aN special opportunity” One might also have thought a PR for a publisher would know the basic rules of grammar. Perhaps if they do this a 3rd time, instead of replying, a surreptitious forward to the publisher would sort the problem out once and for all…

  76. Lori says:

    I’m a PR and marketing director, and this magazine editor I used to work with recently started her own PR agency, apparently with little idea of how to actually do PR. I find myself receiving mass emails from her regularly, all standard press releases for various restaurant openings or local events. I could understand if she approached me because she wanted my company to sponsor the event, or attend the event – but I’m not getting sponsorship requests or, heaven forbid, invitations. Instead, its just press releases, which I don’t think she realizes are meant to go to, ahem, members of the press.

  77. 1. Anybody who positively calls themselves an “ol-timer” rankles me.
    2. If you’re important enough to be pitched to, you’re important enough to be listened to.
    3. If you’re a pr person pitching the media, and you have the time to be a self-righteous jerk, you have the time to listen to someone.
    4. There’s so much of this out there, it drives me batty.

  78. Vicky says:

    As a longtime print reporter who entered p.r. in 2004, even then depending on mainstream media to get stories out was uncomfortable for me. I did not like depending on overworked reporters in shrinking newsrooms to decide whether my client’s news was worthy.

    That’s why I was relieved beyond words when social media bloomed and offered other ways to communicate with people. Blogs, by far, are my favorite medium.

    More so than marketing folks, I’ve found p.r. people strangely slow to adapt to the new rules of the game. Sorry to be simplistic, but it’s still about relationships.

    P.r. folks need to to a better job of adapting. As one commenter above said, it’s better to choose 100 great bloggers than thousands of anonymous ones.

    I’ll keep trying harder.

  79. Jim Bowman says:

    Jonathan,

    I’ve been following you for some time on Twitter, now I’ll have to keep up with your blog. Like the person who pitched you, I have 30+ years in public relations and marketing, but the comparison ends there. PR fundamentals, such as strategy, messaging and measurement, don’t change much over time, but the tools do.

    One of the problems I’ve found repeatedly is that many PR firms treat online PR as a specialized function. Online PR skills, such as keyword research, SEO copywriting and proper use of social media, are essential for all PR professionals, not a few specialists.

  80. Danielle says:

    So, if this person doesn’t have time to write an apt and more personalized release, how does he/she have time to write long, biting, professionally damaging emails to you?

    I’ve been on both sides of the media quagmire here and rule #1: treat EVERY member of the media as a unique opportunity to get your big break.

    There seems to be a divide between marketing 101 and common sense 101.

  81. That’s a great comeback Jon. I’m amazed at how the person couldn’t spend just a little time to customize his pitch to you, but instead could type up such a long justification email. That surely look like it took out more time than he seems to be able to afford.

  82. [...] This post was Twitted by GranerCreative [...]

  83. Jen says:

    As a victim of e-mail spam, I applaud you for taking the time to respond to one of the e-mails and express your need to be taken off their mailing list. This however isn’t going to deter them from sending you e-mails in the future. Sad, but true.

    • Barry Goss says:

      I’m pretty sure that last word Jonathan would use is “Victim” – victims after all sit around, complain, whine, and call-out for Big Brother to safe / help them. So, no “victim,” he was not!

  84. Tim Brownson says:

    I really love the post for its common sense, and I’m also sensing you defending yourself.

    You don’t need to man!

    Anybody that has taken the time to read your stuff and bothered to know you understands your a cool dude imho of course ;-)

  85. Great post, very interesting

  86. the IRF says:

    Thank you Cindy C. and Jonathan,

    I get the sense of being taken advantage of and the fury that arises out of perceiving that abuse. I just wonder if the distress and anger is worth it for any of us. My dad, the son of the man who started the first chain store in the world, taught me that, “The Customer is Always Right”. In this case it is Jonathan. The thing my grandfather taught me was, “When you point a finger at someone, there are four others pointing back at you.”

    I understand the lesson from Jonathan’s side much better now. Your diligence and sincerity demands much of you. Reading the book, end to end, at great expense of your time, is a must to satisfy your internal identity of honor and duty. That is a heave sense of self-identity. It makes you vulnerable to offense … perhaps where none was “dunderheadly” intended. The understandable prickliness coming out of this can only take away from your family and most especially your real balance.

    My interest is understanding how not to incite the slings and arrows of sensitivity, the fury of denigration this Internet and Social Media realm seems to engender. I get it. It seems that most of those on the Social Media and Internet communication dynamic are actually real, hugely genuine folks of deep sincerity and earnestness. This is a very different rhythm than, “I’m selling this. Look at it. Buy it. If it works to address your needs, you will know” type of music that was the old world.

    Thanks, everyone (James,Bdsy, Gsp, Joel, Katinka, Kelly, Vicky, Jim), for showing me what a hurly burly blur it must all be for those getting inundated with “pitches” of one sort or another for your attention. These supplications, in need of your “support”, can only be impossibly demanding on people of true genuine earnest sincerity, which I now understand you all to be. It makes sense why you are all so frazzled and perturbed, and it explains why you lash out.

    Great service, Jonathan. I read you saying all of this in your book; about attempting to make yourself familiar, however awkwardly, with whomever you were hoping to enlist support from. Now I see why. I didn’t have any comprehension of how much “stuff” comes at you. I get it. You guys are swamped with supplications tugging at your diligence to be earnest and sincere as the root of your identity. I have never had that kind of demands put on me and so couldn’t grasp why the fear. To be “cold, callus and not responsive” undermines the root of who you understand yourself to be. It is an insidious sapping of the strength you see yourself to have that takes place, to which you dare not respond.

    Back before my time, males used to eyeball each other and go to the woods and have it out. Far more often than not, your worst enemy became your dear friend through that process. Words always seemed to get in the way of truth.

    This quest for human-ness through the Social Media and Internet thing frightens me though. It cannot be done. All that seems to arise is anger, spite, vulnerabilities brought into relief and exposed somehow or other; producing the eruption of sly, mean boned ironic humor, all cast in the tones of snide superiority at the expense of others, and lacking adult wit. It all feels like the middle school lunch table. It scares me. Why is this happening? Why has this happened? It didn’t used to be this way. Were people bolder back before the Woodstock generation started producing generations anchored to “I’m important”? I don’t think so. Being hurt because spam or “off topic” communication has imposed itself on you leaves you in a helpless place. Still, it is too easy to just be hurt. It is too easy to just be angry and lash out in mean boned spite. It is too easy a game to just cast out the PR assholes that won’t get it and adapt.

    To be evangelical and try to help this “PR guy” out would probably itself be a self-important identity to take on. Yet look at the commentary load that this topic has engendered. There is something here. It is soil waiting to fruit. Maybe this is why Generals that are used to, good at and comfortable with the death of their soldiers and populations are known to have become familiar with one another, especially when on opposing sides, perhaps over a beer or two, just so they could find common ground and wind up doing something less wasteful with their expertise.

    I don’t know that I have contributed anything to the energy here, but the issue sure has brought up something that is churning in many, it seems. What is at the root of the fear? It is always fear that elicits anger, it seems. Is my earnest self-importance showing yet? Crap! What barbs must I prepare for from those who slight me this time, I wonder?

    Respectfully yours,
    the IRF

  87. Robert Fay says:

    Jonathan, I hope it is permissible etiquette to mention another blog (your friend, Michael Martine’s, Remarkablogger). It is also just now addressing the personal, none “spam” thing of approaching people each day to expand or “pitch” something:

    http://remarkablogger.com/2009/09/08/the-10-smartest-things-you-can-do-to-promote-your-new-blog/

    I found the topic of this blog and attending commentary, and that blog and its commentary, as complimentary and tied together. Is it serendipity or What is Needed for me just now as encouragement? I hope your readership will find its information useful if not inspiring.

  88. [...] Jonathan Fields posted about a PR encounter that quickly went bad. [...]

  89. Karlil says:

    How did I missed this. I know, I always avoid long articles because it gets boring after 2 paragraph. But my oh my, I didn’t missed a word here. It was that good.

    Btw Jonathan, I personally think that both people have valid opinion in this matter. Sure in this time of day, it’s all about getting personal. However, if I were him, I wouldn’t have done it myself to be honest. He started out as a PR with a huge list. It makes no sense to approach it with personal notes.

    Blogger on the other hand started small. Few audience and a few top bloggers to approach and make relationships with. It’s a completely different scenario.

    But with that said, I do agree I would hate to be pitched that way. It doesn’t look genuine and lack personal touch, something we all want when we’re asked for favor.

  90. [...] Jonathan Fields posts an entire conversation with a PR person over a mass marketing email he received twice! Read the full post. [...]

  91. hi,
    i’ve been a journo for twenty years now and, to be honest, if you’re part of the media (whether writing for a national or a blog) you just have to accept mass-mailed press releases. They can’t better one on one communication, sure, but the mass reach they offer means they will never go away.
    So, basically, they’re what the delete button’s there for.
    I guess the only good side of these mass mail out press releases is that you and your site are on the media radar!
    cheers, Sean

  92. (A) I adore you. (B) Why I’m fixated on this, I don’t know, but I feel the need to tell this person that if he wants to insult you properly, the correct term is closed-minded. But no matter. (C) Even before the advent of Twitter and blogging and Facebook and what we now think of as Social Media, the kind of approach he takes is one that has always gotten under my skin. When helping my clients to build publicity, I have always found that it’s more effective to personalize things; to do something that sets you apart from the pack. Even if your “target” isn’t interested in your subject, at least you’ve gotten noticed, and have (hopefully) made a favorable impression.

    I realize that there are times and places when bulk or auto somethings are necessary, but if you’re going to do it, do it RIGHT. Make sure you have salutations that sound at least a LITTLE bit genial. Make sure you’re using someone’s NAME. Be, at least, a LITTLE bit human. Sheesh.

  93. [...] but entertaining more than anything else. It’s a blog post by Jonathon Fields called PR Gone Bad. How to Anger Bloggers and Hose Your Client. Jonathon details a back and forth exchange he had with a PR firm who was trying to get him to [...]

  94. Luke says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    I’ve come back to comment because I have received a spam email from a publisher today. I agree with everything you have said in this post, but I am a sucker for free stuff!

    It is easy to properly personalize a mass press release mail out, bloggers do it all the time with their newsletters, Attentioning it to “Mr. Jonathan Fields Self Help” is just plain wrong, it makes it feel like you are getting a letter from Nigeria promising you a share in a jackpot.

    Keep up the good work!

    Luke

  95. [...] Fields blogged about his PR outreach nightmare. In a nutshell (and one that is hard to summarize given the chunks of gold in his communications), [...]

  96. [...] This post was Twitted by Hammarstrand [...]

  97. Taylor Marek says:

    Amen! Preach it Brother!! ;D

    Seriously though, that gave me a long needed breath of fresh air. Hate having to scramble all over this rabble and crack heads just to show them a new source of light. I love being in this “social media” space, tons of fun eh? ;)

  98. Thank you for writing this piece!

    At the core, people don’t want to take the time to build relationships. Takes time and commitment. You can’t just pitch and ditch once you get what you want. Relationship building 101. Bloggers are people. Bloggers are not an “it.”

    Seth Godin’s Sept. 23 post, “Everyone Get’s Paid on Commission” brings up another problem in publishing — numbers. Clients can count circulation numbers for mainstream media, but they don’t “get” the numbers for blogs. They “get” — and respect — inflated, large numbers, but don’t “get” solid, smaller numbers.

    For example, a client might look at X magazine, which has Y circulation. X magazine is often shared with others, therefore Y is multiplied by two or three to determine that the “real” number of people reading is Z. Metric madness… And there are PR firms that support this “math.”

    For bloggers, number inflation isn’t something that flies. What you see is what you get. Clients need to understand that what you get with smaller numbers from bloggers is often of greater worth than larger mainstream circulation numbers. And there are blogs that are, frankly, eclipsing mainstream numbers on their own.

    Bloggers have readers who CHOOSE to be there. I don’t read every column in a newspaper or magazine, but for the blogs I follow, I’m there, all the time, reading. I’m dedicated. So while some bloggers have smaller numbers than lead MSM outlets, the bloggers have a more dedicated audience. They have a proactive audience – an audience that seeks out their favorite blogs, rather than waiting for the magazine to arrive in their mailbox. They have readers who are INTERESTED and ACTIVE.

    I’d rather a few proactive people read something, than thousands of passive people. Just takes a few of the right people sharing it with their friends for something to really take off.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Great points, all! And, yes, for blogger and even mainstream press, number inflation is kind of silly

  99. I followed a link to get here today and am glad I stayed to read this. I’m a reasonably successful blogger in a very different field to you, who received a ludicrous pitch email today from a ‘social media marketing manager’ at a social media agency for a product with no connection to me or my blog, which wld have required time & effort to post.

    Above all the content they were suggesting I ran (frequently) was of an extremely commercial nature and which was obviously more free advertising than editorial content. You only have to look at my blog to see that it wasn’t suitable for me.

    I replied, slightly tongue in cheek, saying I’ve read yr email carefully, but you seem to have forgotten to request my rate card. I received in reply a hectoring email:

    “I’m not looking to advertise. This is an organic promotion, a story idea for your blog should you want to actually get tips for such things. If you want to run with a giveaway, I’m offering your readers a $50 gift card.

    I’m sorry, but as a blogger myself, I understand that not all people have a budget to pay for ads. Sometimes a story tip is really just that.

    Let me know if ever accept story tips or not. This is a benefit to your readers, and I wanted to invite you to participate.”

    Excuse ME. A competition promoting yr low rent product is hardly a ‘story tip’. And if the company have a budget to pay the agency, then they shld have the budget to pay ME.

    But here’s the killer: the writer is a ‘social media expert’ who has written a book on how to market on-line and has a blog where she expounds at great length on the subject of off topic pitches and public relations professionals who send messages that do not fit with the blogger’s beat and doesn’t account for the blogger’s feelings, thoughts, and ideas.

    What hope is there for social media PR & marketing when the so-called experts themselves renege on their beliefs?

  100. Truth be told, I have done this with other companies I worked for in the past. The results were equally abysmal as this fellows. I just didn’t get the new format of generating PR with the internet, which I am only starting to now.

  101. Suzi Craig says:

    Jonathan – This is the best conversation I’ve been involved in for a really, really long time.

    I nearly want to print this thing out and put it in a time capsule. And, then 5 years from now, open it up and look and see what a relic it is.

    I mean that in the best possible way: this conversation should be off the table by then. We shouldn’t be talking about this anymore in this context. Sending an email like the one you received should feel so jarring that it wouldn’t happen in the first place.

  102. [...] PR Gone Bad: How to Anger Bloggers and Hose Your Client (Jonathan Fields): This story by Jonathan was so good that I even wrote a story about it which was published to Brian Solis’s blog as well. [...]

  103. [...] subscribe to the RSS feed for updates on this topic.Powered by WP Greet BoxI’ve written about how to pitch a blogger on covering a story, post, product or [...]

  104. [...] Fields. But in this blog post, he takes a scalpel to a typical JV letter, and cuts it to pieces. PR Gone Bad: How to Anger Bloggers and Hose Your Client. Essential reading for anyone who want to write any kind of sales letter. cheers, EricG. [...]

  105. gene sower says:

    Ah, when two world collide — sparks will fly! The one observation I made from your exchange with the old school PR guy is that while you’re claiming his techniques don’t work, he’s claiming they do. He’s not buying your premise that the same old same old isn’t working. He’s saying people he sent that stock release to are requesting to review the book in droves. Therein lies the rub: your comments to him are falling on deaf ears. It’s also hard for people to admit that the way they’ve done things for years is now obsolete. Ouch!

  106. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by jonathanfields: PR Gone Bad: How to Anger Bloggers and Hose Your Client… http://is.gd/2PNuo

  107. [...] Personalize! Dear_____  isn’t gonna cut it.  By now they should be at least familiar and “open” to you.   If you don’t engage them and are not personally interested in them then they will know it.  Yes, it is time consuming.  But if you want to be effective then you will need put some work into it.  Unless you want to end up like this guy. [...]

  108. Katie says:

    Wow. It makes me embarrassed to be pitching bloggers alongside this guy! Hopefully he and people like him will read this and heed your advise! Thanks for the post!

  109. Rose says:

    … ‘closeminded’ …. please … make the laughter stop.

  110. Liam Ireland says:

    Glad to see that Willy Loman is still gainfully employed.

  111. Brennan says:

    Wow, I work in PR, and I would never do what this person just did! ={

  112. [...] of our ongoing education. There are sites like the BAD PITCH BLOG and horror stories like one that Jonathan Fields blogged about that call out bad PR, not to embarrass, but rather [...]

  113. [...] companies are deeply afraid of their markets.” From press releases that sound like this and media pitches like this, PR practitioners have gotten lazy, hiding behind words and messages instead of building an actual [...]

  114. [...] companies are deeply afraid of their markets.” From press releases that sound like this and media pitches like this, PR practitioners have gotten lazy, hiding behind words and messages instead of building an actual [...]