Tips For Avoiding The PR Spam Zone


In recent years, there have been numerous print and online stories of reporters blocking the emails of PR people for continuously spamming press releases, story pitches, and other communications – even after the reporters asked to be removed from media contact lists. You can read a few animated and sometimes heated posts about this phenomenon here, here, and here.

As a small or mid-sized business, the last thing you want is to get on the bad side of a reporter and join this dreaded group. Media professionals are highly influential in generating messages about your company to the public. One of the keys to staying out of the “spam zone” is to build a media contact list that includes reporters who cover the products or services your business offers. What follows are several tips you can use to build a solid media contact list. These tips will help you tell your story to the correct media contacts and develop lasting relationships along the way.

  1. Review Your PR/Communication Goals: The first step in building a worthwhile media contact list is to clearly define your goals for communicating with the press. What story do you want to share about your business? What’s the impact of your business on the public (employees, customers, the community)? What makes your product or service stand out from the pack? What mechanisms do you have in place to respond to media inquiries (personnel, information, etc.)? Answer these and other questions before you make contact with the media.
  2. Research, Research, Research: Research print and broadcast reporters in your local area to find out who covers news for your business’s focus. Once you’ve identified the correct media contacts, read or listen to several of their recent stories to familiarize yourself with their style of reporting. Also find out how reporters want to be contacted with press releases and other communications, and the best time to communicate by phone. After you’ve identified your local media contacts, broaden your list to include regional or national media contacts, bloggers, and websites.
  3. Review and Update: Regular review of your list will help keep your media contacts accurate. Has a reporter asked to be removed from your list? Is there a new reporter covering your beat? Have you identified new angles to pitch about your business that extends your reach to another reporter? These all are questions to ask when reviewing and updating your list.

There are several PR software providers on the market that you can use to create media lists, monitor your press coverage, and more. Prices for these services vary. For the budget-conscious business, a well-organized Excel spreadsheet will work just fine. Whatever you do, stay committed to honing your media contact list and avoiding the spam zone!

About Kristina Hill

An expert in marketing communications, Kristina Hill provides integrated marketing consulting services to small and mid-sized businesses through MarComm Creative Group, LLC. The business offers an array of services, including: public relations and media relations; advertising planning and placement; integrated marketing plan development and execution; and article, website, advertising, editorial, and sponsorship writing.

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What Should I do Next?
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3 Responses to “Tips For Avoiding The PR Spam Zone”

  1. What To Ask A Reporter At A Lunch Meeting « The Eastonsweb Multimedia Blog Says:

    […] Tips For Avoiding The PR Spam Zone […]

  2. Spam Blocker Michael Says:

    An easy unsubscribe link without any password or email confirmation would do great things.

  3. A Look Inside « The Eastonsweb Multimedia Blog Says:

    […] Tips For Avoiding The PR Spam Zone […]

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