By Cathy Recently, a blog on Ragan.com got my attention. The 10 worst nightmares for a PR professional was written by Jennifer Nichols, the founder of the FlackList, a service that connects media and PR “flacks.” The service seems cool, and I want to check it out, so the blog worked from a sales perspective. What didn't work was Nichols' number-one nightmare for PR pros: 1. You mail merge a pitch to the wrong media list. If you are working with a PR firm that mail merges anything, then you're screwed. Any PR firm that is mail merging a “pitch” doesn't care about your business, your bottom line objectives or your vision. It cares about getting coverage hits and focusing on quantity over quality. This short-term approach usually shortchanges everyone. If your PR firm is not carefully vetting and researching each and every target, then you aren't getting your money's worth. And chances are, the journalists with whom you are paying that firm to connect hate those flacks -- and your pitch. Now, I'm all for automating processes. There are definitely times where sending out the same information to a number of reporters is fine, but this is usually when a client is announcing a product upgrade or a general news item or something as an FYI. And it should only happen if your PR team has already established a channel with these reporters. In today's social media world, where customer and industry voices are amplified, it's so easy for PR teams to find new angles, research trends and give reporters want they want and need to be successful. Mass mailing generic pitches was never good PR practice. In this environment in particular, it's toxic.
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