Yesterday we accidently sent a news release about a Microsoft compatible product to a reporter that covers Linux exclusively. Almost immediately we got a reply that more than a little sarcastic along with a threat to block our email.
Some might say there is no reason to be rude or hostile over a genuine mistake — a box left unticked. That’s probably true, but when you put yourself in the reporter’s shoes, you can understand. He likely gets dozens, probably hundreds, of badly targeted stories pushed to him every day. Especially on a Monday when a lot of announcements are made in the IT industry. He’s probably drowning in stories about Microsoft, and he doesn’t have event he slightest interest.
As soon as I realised what happened I wrote him a note to apologise for spamming him. I explained how I personally loath news release blast services, but resort to using one because, well sometimes you just can’t write a personal pitch to every reporter.
Back in the day, that’s exactly what I did. If I wanted to interest a reporter in a story, I researched what he/she’d written before and angled my story to fit the specific interest. But these days, with pressure on budgets and the growth in blogs, internet sites and an increasingly splintered trade media, there often just isn’t the time to do things ‘right’.
Sometimes we do use a blast service, then we ring a handful of reporters to discuss story angles that relate to their specific readerships. It’s not the best solution, not by a long shot. I’d love to hear about any alternative approaches, so please feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly.
BTW, the linux reporter mentioned above, responded to my email with a polite, friendly note. So hopefully, he’s decided not to block us.