Someone in New York City emailed this morning asking if I had any suggestions of bloggers who might be interested in a press release he was sending out today.

He’s with a good company. I had lunch with him last week and he’s a heck of a nice guy. The news would be relevant to some good plaintiffs’ trial lawyers around the country.

I responded that it’s difficult or impossible to suggest bloggers who would like to receive his press release. Most bloggers are put off by typical press releases.

I do not recall any releases that I have referenced in this blog – and I get 10 a day. I delete the emails and if I have second, I click the opt-out at the bottom of the email so that I am not bothered again. When there’s no way to opt-out of the continued emails, following press releases just remind me to dislike the sender.

Bloggers are looking for something to link to, ie, news or info that’s on another blog. Bloggers usually only ‘report’ on things they see or get from others they know through blogging (party looking to make news is blogging) or through other social media. If you send press releases to bloggers you do not know and who do not you, you risk alienating the blogger.

It’s a whole new world out there. The days of sending out press releases to everyone who has a ‘rag’ that reaches your target audience are over. These ‘rag publishers’ in the form of bloggers are not the same as newspaper and magazine reporters.

Blogging is a conversation. Listen to us. Engage in the conversation with a voice of your own. Your voice is your blog, though increasingly I am seeing folks without blogs on Twitter.

Don’t refuse to engage in the conversation and then shout at us with press releases. It’s rude.

PR and communications people need to learn how blogs and social media are used as grass roots/word of mouth marketing. It’s not something you just wing. You learn it by listening to RSS feeds of sources (blogs and news websites) and subjects (keywords and key phrases) and becoming a part of the blogging community. If you don’t have time to learn, hire someone who gets it.

Sure, there are PR and communications people with companies who I will take ‘news’ and press releases from. But those are usually folks who have taken the time to get to know me, my blog, and my interests. Often they’ll be blogging and using social media in an effective manner themselves.

I’m not being a snob by refusing press releases like this. I’m just using blogs and social media the right way – as a conversation.