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April 19, 2011
Email Only Those You Know, Or Else...
Thanks to Jason Falls for providing a primer on a subject we've been curious about for some time - the use of email for PR purposes. It can get vexing. For instance, email for commercial purposes is covered by the CAN-SPAM Act, a federal law all its own, with hefty penalities to prove it. 

In his "PR Guide to Email Pitching," Jason writes: "If you email a blogger, media member or otherwise individual with a pulse and they do not know you and didn’t ask you to email them, you are — at most — introducing yourself. If you do anything more than that, you are spamming them." And, again, emailing for commercial purposes is covered by a law all its own.

Jason notes that it's best in the communication business, which is what PR actually is, to concentrate on relating one-to-one. People on your contact list ought to be people who know you. But Jason suggests language to use "if your back is against the wall and you have to communicate one message to a lot of people you don’t know in a short amount of time" - language that complies with the law.

Email is a handy tool, but remember that this is a one-to-one world. Do it right, and legally.

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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