Is there no such thing as a cool publicist?

I was just talking with my friend Sean from Suicide Girls about how there seems to be no cool publicists out there. WTF? Is there no such thing as a PR firm, or single person for that matter who knows how to talk to people, knows the way to approach people, and more importantly knows the way NOT to do those things? Between this site, it’s art specific sister site, the larger network, and the gallery I get more than my fair share of press releases thrown at me and I’ve yet to get one that didn’t turn me off one way or another. Maybe it’s because I’m a blogger and have a general distaste for traditional media, or because I own my or because I own my own business and know how I’d want people approached on my behalf, or because I listen to too much punk rock but there’s few things worse than the generic “Dear _______, Your readers would love to know about this event blah blah blah” e-mails I get all day long. It’s hellish.

If there is a worthwhile publicist reading this who knows what I’m talking about, post a note in the comments because I’m sure there’s a lot of other people reading this who would appreciate your services.

8 Replies to “Is there no such thing as a cool publicist?”

  1. I agree. My standard procedure is to reply back with a simple “why did you send this to me and how did you get my email address”. Once a publicist emails me back, I will post their release on my site. Thusfar, no press releases published.

  2. Right on, Sean!

    PR folks should know (if they’ve ever attended a decent J school) that the most effective and least time-wasting to the recipient, is to send a release in OUTLINE form listing the 5Ws and H.
    (It should go unsaid, the info should be OBJECTIVE).

    Recipient is able to QUICKLY scan the matieral and determine if his/her audience would benefit from said info.

    Subjective ‘puff’ does NOT belong in releases!

  3. i have a similar problem with my art collective clothing line. no publicists really “get it”…if you find a good one send em my way!

  4. Yes… there are cool publicists out there. But I think it’s unfair to expect a personalized e-mail to accompany every press release. Here’s a few insider facts about publicists/publicity you may not have taken into consideration:

    1. No publicist has the time to personalize every e-mail. You are merely one of 1-2 thousand active journalists selected to receive the info presented to you. Any personalized e-mails are going to Rolling Stone and the New York Times.

    2. Press releases are designed to serve several purposes – they are not just targeted to journalists.

    3. No smart publicist expects a journalist to read more than the first paragraph of a press release. You may notice most releases are front loaded with all the important information in the first paragraph. The rest is additional or expanded information for those who have already decided they are interested. (So, when you suggest bullet points… it’s basically already written that way.)

    4. Most journalists don’t want personalized e-mails; they’d rather not feel put upon to send a response.

    5. Most publicists feel a little slighted when they put thought and time into a personalized e-mail, then don’t get a response of any kind… which is the majority of the time. It’s easier on the ego to send a generic e-mail.

    Instead of focusing on what publicists don’t do for you, why don’t you consider what they do accomplish for you. They offer story ideas, send tons of free product (which is then sold back to re-sale stores, or given to charity), act as a conduit to talent interviews, convince talent your interview is actually important enough to do, supply free artwork for your website or print publication, actually return your phone calls and e-mail, etc.

    Maybe Sean at Suicide Girls is not the best person to judge what makes a cool publicist. Isn’t Daniel R. Epstein the guy who does all the interviews for the site? He’s the one who really deals with multiple publicists on a regular basis. Somebody ask him his opinion…

  5. Stacey – unfortunately you are jumping to some conclusions here that are incorrect. If someone doesn’t accept Press Releases and are very public about not accepting Press Releases, a publicist sending them a Press Release is irresponsible. Additonally if an outlet had written about something countless times and a publicist sends them a generic “in case you don’t know about this, etc…” note that’s bad PR because it tells the outlet that the publicist couldn’t be bothered to see if they’d ever covered that topic in the past. There’s a very long back story here and the discussion isn’t about personal e-mails, it’s about knowing your job and handling it correctly.

  6. I agree, if you tell someone you want to be taken off their press list, they should take you off and not bother you. But, if you’re suggesting that a publicist should sort through 1500 e-mail addresses and remove people who have already confirmed coverage, I think that’s asking too much.

  7. I agree, if you tell someone you want to be taken off their press list, they should take you off and not bother you. But, if you’re suggesting that a publicist should sort through 1500 e-mail addresses and remove people who have already confirmed coverage before they send them out, I think that’s unrealistic.

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