Sometimes you read something, or you hear something, and it just makes you stop and say, “Seriously?!?”.
Often this is from a pitch selling a company’s products or services. It can be from the company directly, or it can be from their marketing or PR agency.
Note – there are many great PR and marketing agencies out there doing great work. This just makes the crappy ones stand out even more.
On Fri, June 17, 2011 at 5:31 AM, Joseph Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
I would like to send you our press release but I will need you to personally sign a non disclosure agreement first.
On Fri, June 17, 2011 at 11:00 AM, Lani Rosales <email@example.com> wrote:
Hi Joseph, I didn’t catch the company name?
On Fri, June 17, 2011 at 11:01 AM, Joseph Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
You are required to sign an NDA prior to any communication with me or my client.
On Fri, June 17, 2011 at 11:08 AM, Lani Rosales <email@example.com> wrote:
I am happy to sign any NDA that we deem to have merit but cannot do so without knowing basic details like a company name. I’m sure you don’t mean to waste my time and I certainly don’t intend on wasting yours, so company name or it didn’t happen.
On Fri, June 17, 2011 at 11:20 AM, Joseph Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
[blank email with NDA attached, naming company as "Company Name Withheld"]
On Fri, June 17, 2011 at 11:21 AM, Lani Rosales <email@example.com> wrote:
I am not authorized to sign that as I have made clear and I feel that you are aware. When you are prepared to share your company name or any basic hints of information, you have my email, otherwise please do not waste any more of my time.
On Fri, June 17, 2011 at 11:25 AM, Joseph Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Lani, you will be missing out on an incredible opportonity [sic] as we have not approached any other news outlet. Perhaps your competitor would be more interested. We will not forget your lack of kindness.
I have to admit, when I read it, I thought Lani was extremely professional in her patience – I would have really been tempted to have some fun. Something about Joseph signing my NDA about his mom and girlfriend, and the polaroids from Stripper Joe’s…
Seriously, though, is this what we’ve now come to? Asking people to sign a non-disclosure agreement before they even know what they’re signing up for? And then ignoring the person you want to write about you, and sending the NDA anyway? Then, just to top it off, basically using a threat as a closing statement?
No wonder the PR industry gets such a tough time (though, to be honest, I’m wary of this even coming from a PR agency, but it’s not impossible).
Unfortunately, “Joseph Smith” is the John Doe of the communications industry, as a reverse email search doesn’t bring up any information about him. Probably just as well – it’d be pretty embarrassing to find he’s a member of your PR team or business.
So, some simple tips when looking to get people and publications to write about you.
- Respect their time and intelligence.
- Don’t be bolshy.
- Don’t come across as asshat-ish as Joseph Smith.
- NDA’s are all well and good, but you need to let us know who we’re being approached about first.
- Did I mention don’t be an asshat?
Honestly, it’s not all that hard. And you’re more than likely to get the kind of promotion you’re after…