Image: Avoid Sending Out Spam

The best public relations strategies require action. They are purposeful campaigns that involve timelines and specific tasks. But companies shouldn’t confuse movement for action.

Effective public relations is much more than a blanket press release sent blindly. In fact, The New York Times’ David Segal recently lamented on the unsolicited and misdirected pitches he receives.

“PR spam is fed by companies that hire PR companies that pay database companies like Vocus, or their handful of competitors,” Segal writes.

He asks why any company would spend money to blanket reporters with email they didn’t ask for and almost surely don’t want.

It is especially confounding when today’s technology allows companies to take a more targeted approach to PR and use science and data to measure the effectiveness of a campaign or strategy.Leading communications strategists can show you who is really influencing your customers, why and how often.

Holding PR Practitioners Accountable

The PR game has changed, but too many people are still trying to play by the old rules. Every day hundreds of thousands of PR pitches land in the email systems of journalists. You can rest assured most of them are deleted. That is bad enough, but even worse is the fact that often times, the companies that hire PR firms aren’t even aware that pitches are happening blindly.

While the firms may hit the occasional home run and land some effective coverage, PR shouldn’t come down to chance. Or, as one of Segal’s sources put it, “fishing with dynamite.”

It is time for PR professionals, and the businesses who hire them, to invest in a better strategy. Not only do they need to ask who the campaign is targeting, they need to ask why and how. They also need to realize that targeting the biggest media brand names doesn’t always mean you’re reaching key influencers.

As I said several weeks ago, a blogger in a cubicle in San Jose may help you reach your target market far more effectively than a story in the Wall Street Journal. So can your employees. The key is to have a well thought out strategy. True communication strategists will be happy to outline the science and logic behind their efforts.