Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Hacks vs. Flacks? Stop Complaining! Offer Solutions Instead!

At my day job, I am director of marketing, public relations and sales for TechEd Events, a division of The Community College Foundation.

Part of my job's responsibilities is to send Press Advisories far and wide to promote the conference. Recently I sent out an advisory about TechEd and the $19 billion educational technology industry it represents.

A freelance journalist called me and asked how I got his email, which was through a subscription service called Cision (formerly Bacon's).

He then emailed the following to Andree Beckham, the director of marketing at Cision:

This is one of many unsolicited emails I started getting over the last couple days. I called Mr. Breakey, who I'm including in this email, yesterday, and he said he was sending me this email because of your company.

Please consult with him if you need to know how he got my email address exactly -- whether he purchased a list or just copied my name out of a directory, etc. -- and let me know how you will remove me from any and all lists of reporters to whom unsolicited email is sent.

All contact in sig file below.

Please confirm that this found you



Turns out this journalist recently wrote an article titled, cleverly enough, Things Turn Ugly in the ‘Hacks vs. Flacks’ War. Your can read it by CLICKING HERE.

I was obviously cc'd on the email to Andee, so here was my reply:

Nice article, but when writing an article of this nature, wouldn’t it be nice to ask those who are complaining what the solution should be?

Since long before email, Press Advisories and Press Releases have been the primary form of communication between the PR and the journalist. In fact, from my background, it was frowned upon to use relationships or direct communication with the journalist to get your story, because of the obvious influence factor.

The simple release or advisory stood on its own. If it did not communicate, if it didn’t garner attention, it was not worthy of a story. Just because Bob at Acme PR knows Frank at XYZ Media, does not then qualify the story for greater coverage.

Granted, that with the advent of email, it was no longer necessary to fax 2000 press advisories, we only need to email. Unfortunately, with the world of SPAM continuing to grow, our emails become just as irritating for the average journalist.

As a publisher of a small community paper in Sacramento, I welcome those emails as a welcome communication from every industry and every part of the country. A chance to learn and a chance to expand our reader’s interest.

So again, instead of hacks attacking flacks, maybe hacks should solve their own problems by offering more effective solutions.


Matson Breakey

It's just one of my constant rants... stop complaining and offer solutions!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I hate spam as much as the next guy, but getting a broad input of press releases is the only way to know what is going on out there.
Go Mr. Breakey!