Posted by Phil Hall
Thou Shalt Be Careful With Thy Media Databases (Another Warning)
I truly hate to repeat myself, especially when I am communicating with supposedly intelligent people, so please excuse me while I clench my jaw and growl out (again) a request to the PR community: please be serious about maintaining proper media databases.
As you may recall, my “day job” involves the editing of a mortgage banking magazine. In the past week, I received a series of e-mailed press releases from several PR agencies that have an extremely peculiar notion of what goes into a mortgage banking magazine. Here are a few lead paragraphs from the press releases that rolled into my office:
“Philadelphia, MS – After leading in the June 12th general election with 42% of the vote, Beasley Denson has been elected Chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians in the runoff with 52.8% of the vote. Turnout was high for a runoff election, with 60% of the 4800 registered tribal members voting. The absentee ballots will be counted on Wednesday, but in the initial count, Denson’s victory margin appears large enough to guarantee victory.”
Obviously, today’s mortgage banking industry is extremely industry in the state of tribal politics within the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. It actually gets worse – here’s another press release that I received:
“DeRidder, LA- July 13 -14, 2007: NFL Hall of Famer Willie Brown has enlisted two dozen NFL Superstars-including JaMarcus Russell, the first pick in the 2007 NFL draft-to coach his Third Annual Football Camp. For two days in mid-July, De Ridder Louisiana turns into the football capital of the world. With NFL training camps in the offing, some of the League's best-known players come together in the tiny town (population 9,808) and teach football to 200 local kids.”
Three cheers and a tiger for Willie Brown, but how does this help my work as (yes, I will say it again) the editor of a mortgage banking magazine? And here’s another doozy that tumbled to my in-box:
“Westport, CT- Question: What do Chris Matthews from MSNBC's Hardball, Delta Burke of Designing Women, Erik Chopin of The Biggest Loser and Nick Jonas of the famous "tween"-heartthrob group, The Jonas Brothers, all have in common? Answer: Diabetes. dLifeTV, the first and only television show devoted to living with diabetes, today announced the lineup for their seventh season, which kicks off on July 15 (airing Sundays at 7PM ET on CNBC). With diabetes affecting more than 21 million Americans, diabetes awareness is at an all-time high. dLife raises the bar this season, bringing celebrity diabetes stories to the screen.”
Okay, I will admit: I am personally interested in the state of today’s American Indian communities, I like football, and I have a family history of diabetes (my grandmother died from complications relating to the disease). But, really, who were the dum-dum publicists who thought to send these press releases to a mortgage banking publication?
I also received press releases advocating holiday getaways to Smugglers' Notch Resort in Vermont (addressed to “Dear Travel Editor” – is my name Travel Editor?), the release of the book “Let Me Fly” by Mississippi author Elisa Mayo, and the Fleet Reserve Association’s 2007-2008 academic year scholarship program (anchors aweigh, mates!).
Please (pretty please), I beg you, take some time to carefully comb through your media databases to make sure the right media people are getting your news announcements. Stupid PR people who throw their press releases willy-nilly across the Internet make themselves look like fools and cast the industry as a whole in an idiotic framework.
(Phil Hall is the former president of Open City Communications, a New York PR agency, and former editor of PR News. His new book, "The New PR: An Insider's Guide to Changing the Face of Public Relations," is now available on Amazon.
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I understand your frustration and I'd like your input on an issue that I face on a daily basis. I am the pr and communication manager for Florida's largest real estate company, Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate. I manage eight different markets with multiple media lists. Between my coordinator and me we send everthing from new hire news releases to our latest technology marketing initiatives with Google. I focus on the business page / real estate editors and writers. Some of these writers / editors want to receive every news release, others do not. Is it worth it to break out each of these editors / writers who do not want to be included in the general news releases from my lists?
I struggle to maintain the appropriate balance of targeted journalists and general news editor e-mail address lists. I know that it makes more sense to only hit the targeted journalists with specific pieces, but I cannot spend my days managing my lists either.
I did a google search on my new book, Let Me Fly, and was directed to your website where interestingly enough you had received a press release on it. But, perhaps instead of the press release being a mistake, it may have been a fulfillment of a higher purpose-- If you know what I mean. Check it out -- You may find you love Let Me Fly and its author!
To God Be The Glory,