Are media releases a new form of email spam?

April 8, 2010



Is this response greeting your media release?

Anyone with anything to do with the media is now several metres deep in indiscriminate emailed media releases.

I blame incompetent PR people, the DIY PR books and articles and those people who whip out media releases to all in the forlorn hope that some journo will find the story interesting.

Quite often the subject is irrelevant to the medium concerned and the story so badly written that it is hard to work out what they are trying to say.

For sixteen years I produced and presented a daily business radio program on the community radio network and as a result received a lot of media releases thanks to various listing on media guides.

Some releases were helpful and a handful of PR people had even listened to the program so I could schedule the occasional item or interview with their clients on a subject relevant to the listeners.

The program however ceased production on December 1998 and although I have managed to ‘unsubscribe’ to quite a few of the releases, some do not have that facility and my efforts to stop others have been ineffective.

As a result, the media releases still come. I am forever shocked at the irrelevance that continues to cram my inbox. 

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How can you improve your email efficiency?

December 14, 2009


I received a business letter yesterday. It came through the post in an envelope with a stamp on the front. It was quite a novelty and a reminder to me of how email has overtaken daily business written communication.

So much so that many people starting business careers today would not know how to layout and compose a business letter.

Emails as a means of business communication are full of inherent faults and frustrations caused by bad planning, poor written construction and a failure of the recipient to read beyond the first paragraph.

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How much does a PR program cost and how is the amount determined?

December 9, 2009


Not surprisingly it is a question we are often asked. In a competitive situation where a potential client is trying to decide between submissions from rival consultancies, how can you decide which one offers the best value for money?

Let me answer the first question first. At DRPR, we charge a monthly professional fee (not a retainer), which is calculated in accordance with the potential level of involvement.

In other words we are pre-selling our hours which are calculated with the aid of a template based on extensive experience of handling similar situations in the past. We work on the principle that when the client opens the envelope and takes out the invoice, there are no surprises as everything has been agreed to in advance. The client can budget and we know what our obligation is towards the client. I have worked under other charging systems in the past, such as hours worked and retainer plus hours. The problem with this system is that everyone becomes preoccupied with how long it took to do the job and not the outcome.

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Just how important is physical fitness and health in business?

November 26, 2009


Does a healthy person work harder and longer? Are they more creative and generally sharper in their decision making?

Let me tell you my story: About five years ago, I received the annual notice from the insurance company which told me that as I had added another year to the score, the premium for my rather substantial life cover would increase significantly.

I immediately rang Igor, my long suffering insurance expert (he is used to my annual rants about premium increases) and asked him what he was going to do about it. He said that he could get me a policy with a lower premium, but I would have to pass a strict medical.

I frankly didn’t believe I would pass that test as my GP had said that my blood pressure was on “the high side of normal’ and I knew that my cholesterol was high.

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News merchandising, it’s a term you should remember

March 26, 2009



‘News merchandising’ is a term I came up with a few years ago. At least I think I did, but you can never be sure that it isn’t something I read in a long-forgotten article and the term was filed about in my sub-conscious for a few decades before re-emerging. But I have been using it for a while and no-one has contradicted me yet and my ownership of the term.  


What I mean by the term is the conscious effort to explore every opportunity to maximise media coverage from a particular item of news to achieve the greatest possible benefit for the client.


It really is a discipline to look at a situation and keep asking the question, ‘Yes, but what else can we do?’


What news angles can be developed from our news situation? As well as general news, is there a columnist story, magazine potential, trade media, suburban, provincial or Sunday newspapers and so on? And how about radio and television, as well as online, which opens up another horizon?


Australia is blessed by a proliferation of media (the greatest per capita in the world), which should be opportunity-time for the skilled and experienced PR practitioner.


I was fortunate early in my career as a very junior cadet journalist to work with some great mentors who had an almost supernatural ability to spot stories. It was a great grounding and one which I still try and use every working day, but this time it is for clients.


-Dennis Rutzou