You have to feel sorry for PR agency, KR Public Relations, who this week generated headlines for sending a pork pie themed press release to the Jewish Chronicle.
The press release, sent for British Pie Week, plugged a pork pie manufacturer and was a search for readers’ “dream pork pie flavour combination.” It caused a number of the publication’s journalists to point out that The Jewish Chronicle probably wasn’t the most appropriate outlet for their story.
Clearly this is embarrassing for the agency involved, who quickly issued an apology explaining the mistake was down to the use of a media list compiled as a training exercise.
Whilst the poor targeting of this release was particularly culturally insensitive, it won’t have been the first time a journalist has received a story that was irrelevant to their readers. Carefully tailoring your press list each time you have a new story to push out to journalists is a time consuming process and one that is all too often overlooked, especially when automated distribution systems make it easy to send an email to multiple outlets at the touch of a button.
Maintaining standard press lists is important but they should only be used as a guide and should always be scrutinised to ensure the right people are being targeted. Poor targeting will generally only result in a journalist hitting the delete key rather than public shaming but it’s not good for an agency’s reputation. Continually bombarding journalists with content that is of no use to them means that next time your email pops-up in their overflowing inbox they are more likely to ignore it and assume that you have little understanding of what they are looking for.
When the mistake was realised, an apology was sent to multiple news outlets. The statement read: "Apologies for the earlier press release that you may have received regarding British Pie Week. "While that press release was due to be issued, the compilation of the press list was a training exercise and unfortunatley, on this occasion, led to a few people being left on the list that the press release was not intended for. (sic) "We can only apologise moving forward and please be rest assured that this will not happen again."