Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Yours is a Very Bad Press Release

Hi! We're the media. We get a lot of press releases. Press releases are almost always bad. Especially those that come to our personal email inboxes. Here's a better idea: write an email to someone you know will care. Or don't! You could just blindly send out a bunch of crap and then bill your client for it. I mean, why not, right? It's not like some snarky asshole will publish your press release online, with derogatory inline notes. Oh wait.

Mat Honan is a Wired magazine contributing editor. He lives in California and last wrote about Facebook in 2008.

30 Comments / Post A Comment

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

"TOS-challenging bikinis"? Maybe I should give Facebook another try.

G Garcia-Fenech (#4,190)

They forgot to add a 3MB pdf attachment.

Christ, client software in this day and age? What are we, Amish?

True story: my girlfriend once called me "so fucking Amish" for using telnet.

pemulis (#903)

What's fun, and I don't get these nearly as much since not doing as much tech/biz stuff, is when they for some reason think it's okay to call your phone. Don't know how you got my cell number, PR bro, but: nope.

oudemia (#177)

I love your username. Assuming you honor the Allston Pemulises.

erikonymous (#3,231)

it's gotta be. the visine (or is that a generic?) bottle is a dead giveaway.

ayellis (#6,131)

And yet how many people went to that website upon finishing the release?
Maybe Lyman PR knows what they're doing.

doubled277 (#2,783)

I can't hear you because I'm too busy finding out what's happening on the internet NOW.

doubled277 (#2,783)

To be fair, being a PR flack is HARD

Kevin Patterson (#5,933)

Not hard enough.

doubled277 (#2,783)

I'm going to go ahead an assume that this is a sexual innuendo. Nasty PR people

Kevin Patterson (#5,933)

Phew, I thought it was just me.

TheZeppo (#6,493)

When I was in school, we mercilessly mocked the PR majors for being talentless pussies. We weren't wrong, either.

Abe Sauer (#148)

I don;t understand all these journalists who bitch and moan about flaks and horrible press releases and PR people and then always redact their names. The worst punishment you can give them is to out them. Do they care about about being anonymously mocked? Anonymously mocked? Or are you trying to keep on good terms with PR flaks by protecting them AND having your snarky asshole cake too?

garge (#736)

I suppose I don't understand why the 'worst punishment' would be the point here. Bad press release humor is, okay, not up your alley, but you must be able to see how that can be an objective unto itself? And not taking up the mantel of trying to eradicate Bad Press Releases from the world's inbox through forever shaming a few poor saps' Googles?

Mark Karayan (#6,437)

I actually thank editors and journalists for calling us out and posting material like this; otherwise, we'd never hone our pitching skills.

@pemulis There are times that us PR folks email a well researched, on-target pitch, but get no response because the editor is off drinking heavily or contemplating burning down every PR firm in a tri-county area because he or she just read a dozen pitches like the one seen above.

That's when a follow up phone call is needed.

I'm still new to PR, but my goal is to learn from mistakes of my own and others.

doubled277 (#2,783)


shudder (#5,913)

New press releases received since I started reading this post: 4. FML.

sigerson (#179)

A journalist whining about a PR flack is like a slug fighting a mosquito.

G Garcia-Fenech (#4,190)

I'm not sure what that means but I like it.

Emilie Cole (#6,441)

that's an awful and bad pitch. not sure why anyone would hit send on that thing.

TheZeppo (#6,493)

Well, you see, some people don't realize they're a blight on humanity.

Let's get medieval on the language, while we're at it.

Um, is it FaceBook or Facebook? Hint, PR team: GO TO THE SITE?

And "downloadable social discovery feature set" are five words that should never be used together, except in parody haiku.

Thank you,


p is for pee (#900)

So Lyman PR, the provenance of this garbage, has an amazing motto! Well actually two. The first is "Keeping it real," which, really? The second, however, is fucking brilliant: "The end result? Results."


TheZeppo (#6,493)

My current workplace has a motivational poster from the chain that prompts us to "live the legacy every day." Unless you work someplace important like the White House or the New York Times (spoiler: I don't), that's bullshit.

My favorite poster, however, demands that we lowly wage slaves make every interaction with customers memorable. Fortunately, it doesn't specify the quality of memories we're meant to bestow upon our vict… customers.

Rebecca Theim (#6,445)

C'mon people … I've been on both sides of the PR/4th Estate aisle and believe me, neither has a monopoly on professionalism or perfection. The following link is to a column I wrote after Editor Chris Anderson reignited this tired argument three years ago by landing in the pages of The New York Times after blocking the emails of journalists who sent him spam, and then publishing all of their names. It turns out that was simultaneously sending the exact same kind of spam to reporters. It's called a "delete" button, people … use it and quit whining:

This is actually genius. The problem with most PR isn't that there's not a story to tell. It's that whoever wrote it is not telling the story. Or even cares. You have to write PR like you actually care. Reach people who care about your story. And provide something of value to the Editor besides your cure for… nothing…

For the PR challenged, here's a link to some free PR and social media guides that will at least get you fewer F-Bombs when you get your scathing review.

Toni Antonetti (#6,638)

Unless the email-writer is clueless (OK, that's likely), it often works out to client management. Sometimes clients have news to tell, and they don't want you to tell it (without some senseless obfuscation and/or embargo). Sometimes they don't have news at all, and they still want you to tell it. Just. Say. No.

Maureen Dudley (#6,702)

Well, it did get me to visit the Lyman PR site. There I found the following on the team page:

"Here's a snapshot of our talented team of contractors, who are hand-picked to work on clients that suits their strengths and talents:"

Mmmm . . . They are working on clients? And is noun-verb agreement no longer in style?

Unfortunately, all PR professionals at one time or another make mistakes, but hopefully we can learn from our mistakes and remember the operative word in PR Professional is "professional."

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