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Lets Not Talk About Love

I’ve just counted up the number of press releases I’ve had about Valentine’s Day. The grand total? Sixty-three – including one that said “Hello, Lisa. Did you receive my previous email? Would you be interested in featuring this in any of your Valentine’s Day pieces?”

It’s tempting to reply to this facetiously – although that wouldn’t be very professional. But when so-called PR professionals send me releases that detail special offers on lip-glosses “to tantalise him”; blather on about flowers “that say everything you can’t”; and try to tempt me with “Some Like It HOT!!!: Sexy Valentines’s Day gifts”, you do begin to wonder who the people who send this sort of bumph are.

I know: you are paid by your client to send out press releases to draw attention to their product. And, in theory, the more releases you send out, the more people you’ll reach.

But in reality: the more you send out press releases to journalists who have absolutely no interest in them, the more chance that you will have of journalists adding you to the list of people to send straight into spam.

In the past ten minutes, I’ve just done precisely that. No, not to every one of the 63 PRs who sent me Valentine’s Day releases – in spite of there being not a 1% chance of me ever using any of the information – because some of the PRs I know well and they are very useful.

But the others? They’ve been ditched. Which is not what any good PR – or their client – would want.

Particularly on Valentines Day…

Lisa Grainger has worked for The Times – from the arts and news desks to The Times Magazine and LUXX – since 1995. When she isn’t working as deputy editor of Luxx, Lisa freelances for publications from Departures and Travel + Leisure to The Times, pens a monthly interview with a leading British craftsman for Walpole, and is sustainability editor at Country & Town House. She has won awards for her travel writing on Africa, and is a regular contributor to panels on conservation and luxury travel. Her compilation of African myths and legends, Stories Gogo Told Me, funds schooling for orphaned girls through the CAMFED charity.

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