Stupid PR Tricks – Yep, Still Getting ‘Em

Since I stopped writing for the Toronto Star, the number of emails from PR people flooding my inbox has dried to a trickle. It helped that I deleted my TasteTO email address completely so the PRs who just refused to remove me from their mailing lists just got bounces. A few somehow made it to my personal email account but for the most part, I am delighted that I no longer get inundated with junk about birthday cake flavoured vodka, cheez whiz or chain restaurants anymore.

So imagine my surprise when I get an email pitching “content suggestions” for a “fat fashion” article.

Now… I am fat. And I wear clothes. And I think I am stylish. But I don’t write about plus size fashion. And as Adam Ant says, “We don’t follow fashion, that would be a joke.” I have almost zero interest in mainstream fashion. Nada. I am a cranky old Goth. I don’t want to look like everyone else at the maul. I certainly wouldn’t be caught dead in any of the “5 Pieces That Will Carry Your Spring Wardrobe” suggestions the PR sent to me, hoping that I would write a piece on this blog about the company he represented.

And so, because I haven’t gotten to be mean to a stupid PR in a long time, I might have torn him a new one. (Just, you know, to stay in practice.) Note that – as far as I am a aware, there is no link from the site Fat Chic to my blog, nor vice versa. I’m not even sure how he found me.

Hi there, I wanted to reach out to you with a suggestion for content on your site: [URL of online plus size store redacted]

We have teamed up with Plus-Size clothing store [redacted] on an illustrated guide to wardrobe staples and, after seeing your link from Fat Chic, I thought your readers might enjoy this post.

If you decide to share, please feel free to use any of the imagery with a link back to the source (there is an embed code at the bottom), and I can send visitors your way as a thank-you if you are interested!

[name redacted]

I mean, come on… “reach out”. How can you NOT reply to that with anything but this…

Hi [name redacted],

I am confused by your email. I don’t really write about plus size fashion.

More than that, I don’t write about mainstream plus size fashion. I am an old Goth – the “suggestions” in the link are a list of things I would never be caught dead in – a denim shirt? Really? Like a garage mechanic? Does it come with an embroidered nametag? And a free wrench?

If [business name redacted] wants to send me a selection of products to review I am happy to arrange that, providing that I get to choose the items. Alternatively, if [business name redacted] would like to hire me to produce copy for their website or promotions, I am also happy to consider that and can forward my freelance rate sheet to the appropriate person.

But I am not interested in “suggestions for content on my site”. This is a skeezy way of scoring free publicity by expecting bloggers to write about your products for free and it was gross and sleazy 5 years ago. ALL marketers and PRs should know better than to try and pull this crap nowadays.

Also – stop reaching out. That’s a tired, stupid, and cliched phrase. You CONTACTED me. Just say contact, it’s way less douchey.

Sheryl Kirby

PS  – a free tip from a writer who has seen every boneheaded PR/marketing trick in the book – if you’re going to “cold call” bloggers, please spend some time reading their sites to ensure it’s a good fit. This is just sad.

Related: A post from 2011 about why the phrase “reach out” as used by PR people is really stupid and creepy.

Related: Articles I WOULD write about summer fashion:
– Five fabulous paper parasols
– The Sun, It Burns – a guide to sunscreens with SPF 50 or higher
– Keeping Your Blacks Their Blackest – How to Combat Fading
– Your Feet are Dirty and Ugly and Gross – Why I’m About to Make You Eat Your Stupid Fucking FlipFlops
– Why Fat, Old Goths Are More Stylish than the Average Fashionista