THURSDAY 28 JAN 2010 9:50 AM


New research from news release distribution service Realwire has revealed that over 75% of press releases are considered irrelevant by those who receive them.

The research, which was carried out in November and December of last year, showed that the average recipient of releases received 54 press releases a day. Whilst 63% felt that they would see it as acceptable if more than 50% of press releases weren't relevant to them, an astonishing 54% felt so aggrieved with the irrelevance of the press releases they received they had taken action to block a sender of news.

The research also showed the type of news that most journalists and news channels felt was irrelevant, with office openings, appointments and financial results being the biggest annoyance.

Realwire have created An Inconvenient PR Truth, a campaign to rally against press release irrelevance and PR spam with support coming from Stephen Waddington of Speed Communications, Daryl Willcox of Daryl Willcox Publishing, Rob Shepherd of the Press Dispensary and others. The campaign was launched this morning (January 28) with a video produced by Thumb Digital(see below).

Adam Parker, CEO of RealWire said "With 78% of press releases being irrelevant we decided to start a campaign to tackle this issue. We are not alone in thinking PR spam needs addressing".

According to Speed's Waddington, "There isn’t anyone in the PR industry that hasn’t been guilty of spamming bloggers or journalists at some point in their career, but it would be great to see more PR agencies get behind the initiative and sign-up to its Bill of Rights" (see below).

Last year Keven Braddock, the contributing editor for GQ magazine, controversially posted on his blog the names of agency and in-house PROs who he felt had sent him irrelevant press releases. The controversy this aroused caused him to remove the list, saying his "point had been made".

An Inconvenient PR Truth's Bill of Rights

Right 1 – Permission required

Press releases should only be sent to Recipients who have given express or implied permission. Implied permission meaning the recipient has stated publicly that they are happy to receive press releases.

Right 2 – Timely unsubscribe

Should a Recipient be added to a distribution list either voluntarily or involuntarily he or she has the right to be removed from that list in a timely manner if they request it.

Right 3 – Don’t rely on media lists exclusively

The PR person should not wholly rely on purchased media lists to ensure accurate targeting.

Right 4 – Read publication first

Before any correspondence is entered into, the PR person will have first researched the Recipient’s subject focus and read the publication or articles they write or publish to ensure that the content is relevant.

Right 5 – Categorise interests in detail

The Recipient has the right to expect that PR people will categorise their interests in detail and not label them under a vague description such as ‘technology’.

Right 6 – Types of release

A Recipient has the right to receive press releases about ‘types’ of stories that they are likely to be interested in and not announcements of any kind just because of an industry categorisation.

Right 7 – Telephone chasing

After receiving a press release the Recipient should not expect a follow up call from the sender. Acts of such kind only waste time and have no bearing on whether a press release is used for a news story.

Right 8 – Succinct headlines

A Recipient has the right to receive press releases with succinctly written headlines so a decision of interest can be made quickly.

Right 9 – Use clear format

A Recipient has the right to receive press release emails that have been formatted to highlight the key information quickly to the reader, such as a summary of the story, who it is about, contact details and links to supporting information.

Right 10 – No attachments

A Recipient has the right not to receive any press release or related content as an attachment to the corresponding email.

An Inconvenient PR Truth from RealWire on Vimeo.