"Need Press? Repeat: 'Green,' 'Sex,' 'Cancer,' 'Secret,' 'Fat'" Joanne Kaufman's story in yesterday's New York Times reveals some of the tricks PR people use to get their stories noticed, including the strategic placement of certain words in their press release headlines. "Toxic" also scores highly among them.
This immediately gave me the idea for the headline of my latest press release written to announce Dojo: The Definitive Guide: Toxic Dojo Sex. How can that fail to attract attention? After all, you're reading a blog post of the same name.
But I discarded the idea, first because I have no idea what Dojo sex is (no, thanks, please don't send me emails explaining it) and second, because it strikes me as a cheap, sleazy come-on, and we all have to deal with enough cheap, sleazy come-ons as it is.
In fact, we take PR quite seriously here at O'Reilly, and for years we've been rewarded by editors, journalists, and bloggers telling us that we do it right. That means a lot. Just yesterday, Sara Winge and I were discussing the proliferation of junk PR by agencies in their madcap pursuit of press mentions for their clients, focusing on the volume of "clips," without regard for who is saying what about the client or the story these press mentions tell. It's the sort of practice that gives PR pros a bad name and drives journalists to lean heavily on the delete key, even when you have important, targeted news to share.
One of our main concerns is that we send too many press releases. The truth is, we have a lot of news to share and hear very few complaints about the volume of communications we send. Our goal is to send well written, well thought-out press releases that don't waste your time. So, you won't be seeing any headlines from us in the near future about "Toxic Dojo Sex." Unless, of course, we publish a book on the subject.