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Why Should I Get Back To You?

When a PR sends me an email, I would like to believe it’s because he or she knows what I do, reads the publications I write for and has a client who would like their product to appear in those publications.

Yet most of the emails I get seem totally random. Take one of today’s. “Good afternoon,” it starts off. “I was wondering whether you would mind getting back to me about whether you thought our Californian Clean Beaches report, sent to you last week, would be of interest as a feature.”

I’m not sure how this PR found me, but they clearly don’t understand what features I write and for whom. I’m deputy editor of LUXX magazine (and that has very specific formats, none of which would ever be about beach cleaning, as much as I am a FULL supporter of all things beach cleaning related) and occasionally also write features for various luxury magazines – about interior designers, conservation in Africa, travel trends and hot travel destinations.

Would I ever read even a few paragraphs of an email describing a Clean Beaches Report? Not a hope. And the long Word document that’s attached? Even less chance. So why do they think I would ever get back to them about it? I have so many people to get back to about so many things (my garage about my broken car; the doctor about why I haven’t picked up my prescription for weeks; a friend who’s getting married to say where we are going to stay) that even if I wanted to have a big old conversation about Clean Beaches (which, granted, is a great thing), I wouldn’t have the time.

If you have specifically targeted your email to me – and send me a brilliant, concise description of your client’s product, which publication that your idea will be suitable for, which specific page it will fit, and whether I have the exclusive on it, I will get back to you within the day, for sure.

But otherwise, please don’t send a second email, asking me to reply to what was a random email in the first place. It will only double my inbox – and my frustration.

If you really want a considered response – and want someone to spend half an hour or so going through the enormous report you’ve attached, and then come back to you to advise you to why it’s not right, and which publication you should have pitched it to – what you need isn’t a journalist. It’s a media consultant.

Post Author

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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