Thursday, June 1, 2006

Who knew PR email was this controversial?


By David Gewirtz

You never know what will fire our readers' passions. Across our magazines, we've published some very controversial articles which have resulted in strongly-worded letters to the editor. We've also published some very controversial material that, to our surprise, generated little or no heat among readers.

But the most interesting articles have been those that seemed the most benign and still generate passionate letters. We've published articles on getting out the vote, improving your career skills, and even improving PR (public relations) response in emails, all of which have apparently awakened deep feelings among certain readers.

Last week's Email Etiquette article, "10 bonehead mistakes PR people make when they send email" (at was one such article. In this installment of our Letters to the Editor column, we publish two letters from readers who found the material helpful and one really fun letter from a reader who found the article "deeply offensive".

Here are two letters from readers who seem to like us.

Learning more about Word attachments

Reader Shyama Dipali writes:

I am an engineer and your article was very helpful. I design farm equipment measuring devices (not much similar to software, I know). We have a marketing agency who insists on sending out our press releases as Word attachments and I've been keeping telling them this is a bad idea. They tell me I'm an engineer so what do I know? Let the experts do their job, they tell me, like I'm some little girl or something.
But I've always thought not so many people read their marketing because it is all attachments. Now I can read them your article and show them that maybe they don't know it all and this little engineer is more on the ball than they think.
Thank you.

Sigh. It's always the engineers who know. You tell your marketing folks to listen to you! History has borne out that ignoring engineers can be a baaaaad thing!

Reader Mort Everard writes:

You were a little harsh on us PR types, weren't you? But you do have a point. I've noticed that responses from my client mailings have been dropping and I never considered it might be our use of attachments. Most of our releases consist of a subject, a number of attachments (usually three or four, including the release, pictures, and supporting information), and a message saying "Please read the attached release".
As much as that seemed like a good idea, I can see why editors might avoid our email. For a company that specializes in getting the word out, this has been a real problem for us.
Harsh though you were, you may well have saved us some clients. Thanks!
Mort Everard,
Action Now Communications, Inc.

Thanks, Mort. It's our intention to help everyone who uses email use it as effectively as possible. Email is hard these days, but some good practices can help you get the most out of this amazing resource.

And now, our crimes against marketing humanity are discussed...