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PR Facepalm
By: Mike Bush
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I know that I should link to the site, but I can’t bring myself to actually help its SEO rating. If you want to find a link, go to Gawker and search for it.
 
Apparently, there’s now a company out there offering PR for $100. The “package” includes a press release and customized pitch letter sent out to 250 “targeted contacts,” access to a network of over 120,000 media organizations by a “top rated” "PR distribution service” and a follow-up call or email to the business who hires the firm.
 
For those of you in PR, you know this means a press release and pitch letter written by an intern, blindly sent out via distribution in Cision or Vocus to reporters who have been selected by Geography and/or Beat, and distributed by a free wire service (and as we know, nothing EVER goes wrong with free wire services). ***
 
The company was founded by a “PR Professional with over 2 decades of experience in the field.” Again...this could be a former journalist, Flack, PR person who’s worked at 20 firms in 20 years for incompetence…who knows.
 
I’m undecided if it is so frustrating because it feels like a snake oil salesman or if it’s going to be so incredibly ineffective in real-world terms that it gives legitimate PR freelancers and agencies a black eye for the businesses that fall for this.
 
The “best part” will be when the “industry veteran” explains that he (or she) has secured more than 100 media placements on a wide variety of sites, from Yahoo News and AOL to a Business Journal on the other side of the US, all because of the free distribution.
 
The service seems to target small businesses.
 
Here’s advice on the off chance you’re one of the businesses considering using this service.
 
1. Pick up a local newspaper. (no more than $2)
2. Identify a reporter in that newspaper who you believe would likely cover your particular business (for example, if you’re a restaurant owner, a food critic is who you’re looking for).
3. Send that reporter a personal email introduction, including your name, your business’ name, and a bit of information on what you think it is newsworthy.
 
Put the $98 you’ve saved in your pocket, and take your significant other out to dinner. You’re likely to have a better night than you would have otherwise, and you’re also likely to get better results than you would have using $100 PR.
 
***Since it’s still the start of the New Year, and therefore prediction time, here’s my prediction: the use of newswires as a means of press release distribution will die a painful death. You can see more predictions from Flack Me’s Shawn Paul Wood, Gerard E Mayers (via PR Daily), and Doug Bedell (via PRSA) by clicking on their names.


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About the Author
Mike Bush is a PR and Marketing freelancer with more than a dozen years of experience in the field. Find him on and connect Twitter @mikebush or at www.mikebush.nyc. 
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