Top ten most common mistakes PR agencies do when sending us press releases.

Sometimes I wonder, how do some PR agencies get paid for being so... Well, lets face it, bad. No no, I'm not saying that all of you PRgrunts are terrible, we have some good connections with some of you and look forward to your mails. But some others are really lost. Here's a list of the most common mistakes - perhaps some PR newbies might learn from this. If you wish to send things to us, don't make these mistakes.

#1 - The irrelevant release. We don't care for the MEHARRY MEDICAL COLLEGE SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR LEADS RESEARCH TEAM TO DEVELOP A GENE REPLACEMENT THERAPY FOR PREMATURE OVARIAN FAILURE (todays example) and get really cranky when our inbox is filled with things that are totally irrelevant to us. Don't buy email lists, sit down and make your own contact list by nurturing contacts that you have, after all that is what you get paid for!


#2 - The mass-mailed release. If the "TO" line in the email does not say our email address it goes straight to the spam box with all the other spam. Don't just shot off a release to a list of hundreds of people pretending it's personal. Send a personal release by creating one email for the intended recipient. Seriously! With all the spam these days, everyone is protecting their inbox and you do not want that release sent straight to /dev/null. We also find releases in the root mailbox which were sent to a totally different domain. Get the address straight please. TO: hostmaster AT adland.tv is the way it needs to be


#3 - Your ad embdedded somewhere else links. What the hell people? We ask you so politely to knock that off yet every day we waste time on follow-ups that are simply us asking you for the ad you want us to publish in the first place. Save us all some time and just send us the ad, willya? Perhaps we can then use the time for some real follow-ups like interviewing you about the ad instead. Don't think you're being clever by sending us metacafé links instead. We want the commercial - not a link*.
* download link is ok, obviously

#4 - Giving us a little info and asking us if we're interested in more info - we reply yes - and then you send us a wide open website page link with no downloadable extra content specifically for us. Bonus points if said page is marked with "digg this" and other blog-link type dealios. Why do you pretend to give us something special if it's already out there in a big web posting already? Just send us that link in the first place then, don't be so cryptic.


#5 - Attaching the entire release in a word document. Just stop it. Email was designed to carry text and all you did was format it in TIMES NEW ROMAN anyway.


#6 - Sending us things too late. Like that one Show invitation we got two hours before the party started, in New York. Even if I could have made the evening flight it still takes me six hours to fly across the Atlantic! Similarly, we really don't like when you send us things that "airs today" a quarter to five in the evening hoping that we'll have a post about it up in the next ten seconds. We plan our days too - send us things before they air the ensure that we talk about it the day it airs. If there's a lot of ads we should fix for you, give a few days at least. Also remember that I'm at least six hours ahead of you folks in the United States America (east coast) and so is our morning traffic. If you're smart you'd use this to help build hype.


#7 - You say "Please contact me if you require any further information." And we do contact you, and then you don't reply to us. Seriously, what gives? This happens more often than you'd think.


#8 - Your emails subject should tell us if there are attachments. Because we post ads here, be they print, radio, video or ambient we scan the inbox for interesting subjects and have found that the ones labeling exactly what is in the mail are the best. See, most subject lines try to be hip and really don't let us know what to expect once we open that mail, or they all say "new campaign from XYZ" or similar. Which is fine. So we throw ourselves on mails that clearly have attachments, assuming (correctly) that these aren't youtube linkfests. Sadly, most PR agencies have their own Vcard or some random gif with their logo attached to the mail, so we can't find the "good posts" this way either. If you're smart, you'll let us know in the subject if there's any images or films to download with your release, your email will get attention faster then. (also remember we don't like .wmv files. Please pretty pretty please don't send us .wmv files)


#9 The single line "viral seeding" email, cryptic on purpose, pretending not to know origin of ad. Seriously, we don't want to post anything that we know nothing about so cut that shit out already. No matter what free hotmail account you're hiding behind its a good guess that the ad is created by you. We'd be happy to hype it if you give us some information. We want the ins and outs of how it came about, why the idea ended up being the way it was, any interesting tidbits of information about the production, quotes from the creators, that sort of thing, etc.


#10 "Dear ". Ok, fine, so we're all hiding behind pseudonyms here, but even just saying "Dear Adland" will score you higher politeness points. Don't be afraid to address your favorite poster directly since Dabitch and Caffeinegoddess both read the hostmaster mails every day.

Did you read this far? If so, thanks.

Rule of thumb: If you're going to bother sending in something, give us the assets to post about it on Adland, such as the creative pieces that you have shared with other sites. Pointing out that some other site linked to your news really isn't enough to motivate us to post it.

about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

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    AnonymousCoward2 (not verified)

    May 28, 2012
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