May 21, 2012
Something Wicked This Way Comes — Are Blast-Happy PR Firms Propositioning Your Clients?
By Susan Tellem, APR, Partner, Tellem Grody PR, Inc.
Here's a whodunit for you. How is it possible that in less than one week two of my clients — quite disparate ones (plastic surgeon and fire prevention) — have received almost identical prospecting messages from PR firms in New York City and Minneapolis?
The messages, one an email blast from Constant Contact and the second a voice mail, both claim to have special access to reporters, publicists, print media, television documentary producers, etc., who would benefit my clients.
Here are the opening lines from both:
- "I routinely receive emails and calls from TV producers, guest bookers, and print journalists in search of guests for interviews and/or for participation in a program or documentary. I was called by a media consultant today about a TV pilot." It goes on to talk about needing a plastic surgeon for a segment.
- I'm working with a group of publicists right now who routinely work with journalists from radio and TV and who are routinely looking for information about fire protection.
Did these people go to a seminar on how to get new clients — and everyone who attended starts blasting the pitch to prospects all over the U.S? Is this just a fluke? Have other PR agencies encountered the same pitch to their clients?
Here's my problem with pitches like this. The solicitation does not ring true. Doing a blast blindly by pitching clients through Constant Contact sours potential companies for all of us. It's confusing to clients who already have a PR company in place. Finally, my opinion is that it borders on unethical. I was taught that you ask a potential prospect if they already have a PR agency in place before you pitch or ask if they are thinking about hiring an agency. That way, you do not step on the toes of a current agency.
What do you think? Has it happened to you?
Susan Tellem, APR, RN, BSN, is a partner with Tellem Grody PR, Inc. and has 30 years of experience keeping clients happy and beating the drums for new ones. Follow her on Twitter @susantellem and sign up for the blog at www.tellemgrodpr.com.