Not sure if it's Wadds week here at ginger towers, but his post today picking up on the whole Dennis Howlett/PR's can't pitch theme got me writing way too much as a comment, so I thought I'd stick some of it here.
The nub of Howlett's piece is that PR email pitches are rubbish. I first cottoned on to the piece on the back of Becky McMichael's comment. Before he (quite nicely) gave her credit for being a ballsy lass who knows her stuff.
Anyway, I have a bit of sympathy with Howlett's POV (who I don't know and have never pitched to).
As co-incidence would have it, I was spouting off about the reasons why the PR industry might face this over-reliance on email criticism at a really good Metrica/CIPR breakfast meeting this week (on measurement as it happens - but I went a bit off piste...)
It was slightly head in the lion's mouth time, but I reckon that the PR industry (probably in common with many others) is over-reliant on email. Simple.
Drew Benvie also reaches a similar conclusion in his post today, in which he concludes:
But what I'm getting at is that I believe that email is broken as a universal business comms tool.
I am in that lucky long-in-the tooth position to offer this historical version of events - which also makes me think that even though things are bit broken, they can still be fixed...
Before faxes, telephone (and postal) relationships were the best non-lunch/drink way of knowing journalists.
With the advent of faxes, you could save yourself some time by sending stuff instantly. Though mass-faxing was always a bit of a pain. The phone was still very important, but less so. Journalists went out to meetings/drinks/events quite often as financial pressures started to bite at newsdesks.
But then email came along. And you need no relationship with a journalist (or even 150 journalists) to ping them all the same thing. This co-incided with reductions in news-gathering budgets. Media started to be more reliant on stories which came into them, rather than them finding stories. Meaning there was an added incentive to email. More pages got PR-able.
But that history leads us to we are now - with blacklists, and bad pitch blogs and journalists getting totally hacked off with spraygun emails and follow-up phone calls.
That's one of the reasons I'm such an advocate of comms techniques like twitter for anyone who wants to get on in this business. PR students, and PR Directors - take note...
PR (and increasinly digital communications and social media) is all about relationships, listening and being useful. Microblogging (and blogging for that matter) tools help with that listening. And help with those relationships. No question.
So my advice to budding PRs is to get used to following journalists on twitter, reading what they write, or listen to what they broadcast each day. Build a relationship with them.
And get used to pitching in 140 chars (or less), if that's what they want. And avoid the bacn.