So we’ve all done it, right? Made a stupid mistake via email and wished we could take it back.
All over twitter and the Web today we’re hearing the tale of a PR Pro that made the mistake of cc-ing several bloggers and journalists instead of bcc-ing them. Part two of this story is that several of the recipients replied to all, many up in arms about the mistake. While I agree that mistakes were made both by the PR pro’s error in sending and in the bloggers reactions, this situation offers an opportunity for some great reminders on etiquette and best practices.
1. The foundation of PR is in relationships. We all know that. While there may be some instances that a mass email is ok (an opt in list of general business email addresses wanting all press releases for a company, for instance), in general a personalized approach works so much better. Build relationships with the reporters that you talk to on a regular basis and personalize emails to them making them relevant for their beat and publication.
2. We’re all professionals. When someone makes an email blunder, politely go to that person (and only that person) and point out their error. Under no circumstances does someone’s email gaffe give you the right to spew profanity across an email forum. Call a mistake a mistake and move on.
3. Defend your people. So often PR people seem like they are out to get one another, yet complain that we have an image problem. Maybe we can remember that we’re all fighting the same battle and that cutting the industry down by trash talking about other firms or pr pros does not help our collective image.
Let’s be honest, when you first heard this story you were thinking “Thank God it wasn’t me.” So let’s stop pretending all other pr pros are the problem and look and see what we all can take away from these experiences. For instance, this incident inspired Chris Lake to write a list of common pr mistakes that we can all avoid.
4. Reply all is to be used sparingly. Nuff said.
5. Enough with the whining. People now use social media as their soap box to complain about whatever is bothering them. Sure I’ve done it (and AT&T finally responded to me!). I’m guilty too. Just remember what your mom said, “No one likes a whiner” (or maybe that was just my mom).