Rant So. You're a PR. Your boss, client, giant David Icke-style lizard or whatever it is you people have in charge of you, has ordered you to telephone The Register. Here's a handy list of things for you to consider before you do that.
- Do not EVER call us to ask whether we read your email. If you feel the need to ask the question because of the lack of reply, the answer is invariably in the negative. Accept that your client's world-shakingly disruptive cat-feeding app is a load of total bollocks and move on.
- Don't bullshit us. We all sit in the same room. So when you ring up and give me the “Hi, I spoke to [insert random scribe's name here] just now, can you put me back through please?” spiel, I will put you on hold and shout across the desk “Did this person really speak to you?” If I'm particularly low on tea and/or biccies, I may not bother putting you on hold for this phase because the sheer joy of making you listen as your lie unravels and then destroying you like a fisherman giving a particularly fat carp a thump with an angler's priest cheers my stone-cold sub-editorial heart.
- Get our names right. If you want to speak to someone with an unusual name, take five seconds and check its pronunciation. If you want to speak to someone with a common first name, be sure to have their surname and/or job title to hand. It's all on the website, we don't make a secret of this stuff. If you ring up and start making inane noises down the phone I am more likely to slam it down than I am to help you. Also, if you're cold-calling a list of publications, at least try and remember which one you're speaking to as you read out your script. Like girlfriends, we don't like being called someone else's name as we get down to business.
- Learn how a newsroom works, including details of its basic structure. If you think our editorial director is interested in listening to your intern read him a script about innovative web apps, quite frankly you should be flipping burgers in McDonald's for a living.
- Whoever it is with the plummy voice who keeps ringing up and asking for our MD – we know you're a salesman and we're never going to put you through. Give over.
- Get some kind of internal info-sharing system going, for pity's sake. We tell the industry which of our people are attending conferences and the like. We don't then want the entire PR industry to ring us up and ask the same bloody question 10,000 times over and again.
- “Hello, is that [x]?” NO NO NO. Didn't your mothers teach you basic etiquette? “Hello, can I speak to [x] please?” Is that so hard?
- Nobody, but nobody on God's green earth in Satan's red dungeon gives a flying monkey's gonads what PR firm you work for. Tell us your client (and what they do if nobody's heard of them) straightaway. If your client has never been covered on El Reg before (protip: Google!), consider pitching to someone who gives a damn. If it's some mobile app you're hawking then try the Verge.
- Email is not always ignored. Most of the time unsolicited commercial email from you is. But at least one person in the newsroom does look at each mail as it hits the inboxes. If you take the time to actually address it properly and consider our beat, we might – might – just give it a second glance. At least your work will have counted for something by that point as we click delete.
- If you have an existing relationship with us, please mention this. We don't hate all PR people. Some of you actually help us cover the IT industry and its technology in a way that we and our readers value and we like that – no, really, we do. All we ask is that you let us know this so we can separate out your wheat from the tons of chaff we have to wade through every day. Not all PRs are bad people and we don't hate you. Except the ones with the unsolicited phonecalls.
Ahh, that's better. Now, where's my pint? ®
Normally your correspondent devotes his weekend missives to writing about privacy and/or shooting. This column is inspired by a particularly rash month of phonecalls.