It always staggers me when I receive a badly-written press release or PR pitch, simply because there’s so much advice out there on how to do it right.

But if there’s one thing that I just can’t understand, it is when PR people ask you to do their job for them.

You can tell a PR has strayed out of their traditional comfort zone when you see this kind of demand in a press release: “Please contact me if you place any of the following information on your site.”

This is pretty dumb for a bunch of reasons. It says the following, to the unfortunate recipient:

1.    I do not actually read your blog.
2.    I won’t notice your efforts.
3.    I want something for free but I won’t say thank you.
4.    To sum up: I don’t properly track my campaigns.
5.    That’s because I don’t care about proving ROI.
6.    My clients don’t care too much either. We’re cool like that.
7.    Reputation monitoring? What’s that?
8.    I have no clue how to move my business forward.
9.    RSS? What’s that?
10.  I have no clue how to move my business forward.

PR people should know better. We still see lots of press releases with CAPS LOCK switched on for headlines (bad for email deliverability, and there’s no need to holler), we still see a lack of personalisation (‘Dear Anonymous Blogger’being my favourite), and we still see plenty of PRspeak (leverage your synergies elsewhere, dammit), but this ‘Please contact me’ nonsense really takes the biscuit.

One of our contributors on this blog recently penned an article about how PR will replace SEO. I like the theory but this isn’t something that will happen anytime soon (if at all) because many PR people simply don’t know the basics, and it is clear that they’re not properly measuring the success of their campaigns. You have to wonder why not.

Even if we put recessionary fear and loathing to one side, PRs – like many other marketing services professionals – will have to get used to the idea of proving their worth. I know that measurement has never been straightforward in PRland, and it certainly isn’t a pure science, but then again it isn’t rocket science either.

The point is, if you aren’t looking in the first place then it’s patently clear that you’re not bothered about measurement.

And if this us you, then you might want to take a quick look over your shoulder.

Further Reading

Online Reputation Monitoring worth £60m in 2008

Is PR broken?