A famous posting by Chris Anderson, the editor in chief of Wired, in his blog the Long Tail, offers advice and a warning to PR people who approach bloggers with the old fashioned blanket press release approach. The posting ‘Sorry PR People You’re Blocked’ appeared in October 2007. In it Chris refers to the 300 emails a day he receives from PR people.
Because they are untargeted and often contain information that is inappropriate he equates them with spam. Chris named the PR people, listed e-mail addresses and informed them that they were blocked. This is pretty severe because it then prevents them from making a future targeted e-mail approaches (unless as he suggests they use a different e-mail address). There were over 300 addresses on the list and they included some names from very eminent PR companies.
Other journalists and bloggers are doing this too. Some publicly and some without our knowledge. This means that the concept of the press release is in an inevitable decline, because it is possible to block the person and not just the press release.
More than ever our approaches to both bloggers and journalists need to be targeted and relevant. We need to avoid blanket e-mails and scatter gun tactics. This was always true but technology now means that a lack of relevance can come with a heavy penalty.