My e-mails with Deirdre: a glimpse inside the bungling underbelly of the PR industry

Wednesday November 20th 2013


There’s a lot of unnecessary antipathy between journalists and PRs (publicity wiz Georgie Hobbs and I recorded a podcast on the subject last summer) and if you ask me, you can trace most of it back to the hoards of chancers in both camps. For every e-mail I receive from a smart, funny, inventive PR like Georgie, I’ll get a dozen from individuals with little to no understanding of the industry they’re trying to spin. I’m sure she could tell a similar story about journalists.

Like most of the world’s bloggers, my e-mail address can be bought on eBay in a .zip file with a thousand others for a fiver, so I get a lot of unsolicited, mail-merge e-mails. Last year, I became so tired of filtering through them all that I set up a dedicated address for unsolicited mail, available only via this page, where it’s hidden beneath a long list of things I’m not interested in hearing about. Among these things are ‘guest content’ (PR speak for ‘free advertising’) and ‘things that are clearly not a good fit for this blog’.

It was a futile gesture. I still get a dozen e-mails a day from PRs for brands like Mr. Muscle, explaining how they just so happened to stumble across my site http://ultraculture.co.uk and thought it would be a really great fit for their new viral video about bacteria. Usually I delete them and set up yet another spam filter; occasionally I respond.

7 November 2013 — 16:22
From: Deirdre
To: Ultra Culture

Hello

I was just looking through your site ultraculture.co.uk, and I was wondering if you were currently accepting guest content on your site?

I am currently spreading awanress about a fantastic Big Brother quiz, that I believe you, and your readers will be interested in! If you’re a fan of Big Brother, then this quiz is for you! The quiz will guide you through the past 13 years of the show, and ask you questions all about the contestants, the hosts, and much, much more! On completing the quiz, you will be able to enter into a raffle for the chance to win tickets to the live shows! There are 10 sets of tickets to be won, so plenty to play for!

The quiz can be viewed here.

I was wondering if you would be interested in placing the quiz on your site?

If so, please do let me know, and I shall send you further information, along with the embed code.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

Deirdre

7 November 2013 — 16:28
From: Ultra Culture
To: Deirdre

Hi Deirdre,

The quiz sounds absolutely superlative.

I can offer you £149.99 GBP for the use of the quiz on my site ultraculture.co.uk.

Let me know how best to transfer you the money.

Jolly regards,

Benjamin Franklin, ultraculture.co.uk editor

7 November 2013 — 16:38
From: Deirdre
To: Ultra Culture

Hello Benjamin,

Thank you so much for getting back to me! I’m glad that you liked the quiz!

However I’m afraid £149.99 is out of my budget. The absolute maximum I could pay would be £35

Pleas do let me know your thoughts, and if this is possible.

Thanks,

Deirdre

7 November 2013 — 16:52
From: Ultra Culture
To: Deirdre

Hi Deirdre,

You misunderstand! I was offering you £149.99 to take the quiz from you.

Your offer to give me £35 is very generous. I’ll deduct it from the amount I owe you and transfer you £114.99.

Do you have Paypal or shall I send the money via a bank transfer?

Yours sincerely,

Benny

15 November 2013 — 09:50
From: Deirdre
To: Ultra Culture

Hi Benny,

Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you, I’ve had a few things come up!

For you, as this is the first work we are doing together, and I have taken so long to get back to you, I will do it for free. I’ve attached the embed code.

If you could please let me know when it is live, and send me the live link, that would be fab :)

Thanks,

Deirdre

15 November 2013 — 10:08
From: Ultra Culture
To: Deirdre

Diddly,

I cannot possibly accept such generosity before we have even become acquainted!

How about a night on the tiles, my treat?

I’m a good dancer,

Benbo

15 November 2013 — 10:28
From: Deirdre
To: Ultra Culture

Well then let’s call it a favor?

I will supply you with the quiz for free, and you could post some of my other content I will have over the next few months?

I’m sure you are an amazing dancer, and it would be a brilliant night! Especially if you’re paying!

Deirdre

15 November 2013 — 10:30
From: Ultra Culture
To: Deirdre

I can do the rumba!

Rumba rumba rumba.

15 November 2013 — 15:55
From: Deirdre
To: Ultra Culture

I would love to see that!

Sorry for the change in conversation, as I would love to discuss your dancing skills all afternoon, but will you be posting the quiz today?

17 November 2013 — 12:36
From: Ultra Culture
To: Deirdre

Dobber,

I’m afraid I won’t be able to post up the quiz today — tis the Lord’s day.

But get back to me first thing Blunday and we can sort this out.

Ta-ra!

Bennnn

18 November 2013 — 09:33
From: Deirdre
To: Ultra Culture

Morning Ben!

It’s Blunday, so I was wondering if you still wanted to post?

The competition closes by the end of today, so it must be posted by today.

Let me know! :)

Deirdre

18 November 2013 — 09:50
From: Ultra Culture
To: Deirdre

Ring the morning bell!

Sorry for the delay Deirdre, but you’ll be glad to hear I’ve finally entered your competition. I’m afraid I didn’t do very well — 7 correct answers out of 25. :(

I was sure Dermot O’Leary got married in 2011. To that nice girl from the football coverage.

But alas, it appears the nuptials were merely announced in 2011, while the ceremony itself took place the following year.

I guess you can’t win them all.

Man and boy,

Bensch

18 November 2013 — 11:17
From: Deirdre
To: Ultra Culture

A few of them got me like that as well! Could you please let me know when you’ve posted it on your site? :)

Deirdre

18 November 2013 — 12:12
From: Ultra Culture
To: Deirdre

Which site?