For those of you who don’t know, Chris Anderson, author of the acclaimed book The Long Tail, is also the editor of Wired Magazine. Like so many journalists (and increasingly these days, bloggers) Chris is inundated with email pitches from PR folks, many of which are completely off target.

It got to the point where he decided to take a very public stand on the matter, writing this post on October 29th, 2007,

I’ve had it… Lazy flacks send press releases to the Editor in Chief of Wired because they can’t be bothered to find out who on my staff, if anyone, might actually be interested in what they’re pitching. So fair warning: I only want two kinds of email: those from people I know, and those from people who have taken the time to find out what I’m interested in and composed a note meant to appeal to that. Everything else gets banned on first abuse.

He then published, in their entirety, the email addresses of offenders from the previous month.

What have the consequences been? Well, the post generated a lot of discussion and garnered dozens and dozens of comments, negative and positive, some from former staffers lamenting the fact that, “Everyone in the world aims their spam guns at Wired and the volley is deafening.” The consequence for PR folk has been that it has become incredibly difficult to get placement in Wired; the pipeline just got a whole lot smaller, and fear of being banned has created a chill.

Since throwing whatever you’ve got against the wall and hoping some of it will stick is not longer an option, what are the other opportunities to get the attention of writers and editors at one of the most influential publications in the world?

How about letting them pull the content they want from you?

On April 18th, Wired’s Autopia section ran a story called “Econoboxes Come Roaring Back With Flair”, noting that,

The Ford Fiesta (photo after the jump), which has been kicking around Europe for more than 30 years, gets a redesign based on the Verve concept car. At long last, it will be coming to North American in 2010.

The article used assets, information and linked to the Ford Fiesta SMPR.

Since we can safely assume that the writers and editors of Autopia have figured out the whole RSS thing, they will be automatically notified of updates to the Fiesta SMPR, and that when something is of interest to them, they will run a story on it.

No spam email required.

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6 Comments

  1. Maggie,

    While, from what I’ve seen, the SMNR is quite popular, I don’t know if Anderson’s issue was the format through which he was receiving information. I believe it was the fact he, as editor in chief of the magazine, was being pitched in the way a writer would be.

    Also (merely from what I’ve read), news releases in any format are not equal to blogger/content creator engagement. I’d argue that being spammed with an interactive release is just as bad as being spammed with an old-fashioned one.

    With that said, I enjoy watching companies slowly implement the new style, and I’m sure it will allow content to be easier appropriated for online use.

    Michael

  2. Hey Michael – thanks for your thoughtful comment! I think the point is that the SMPRs provide assets to enable bloggers/journalists to create content, (engagement to let them know it’s there is still required).

    The benefit is that once that happens on any given topic, no spamming is required, thanks to the magic of RSS.

  3. I’ve got it. This approach is opt-in.

  4. I would be interested to see how this would work for smaller companies that don’t have such frequent releases…

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