Don’t get me wrong, I receive — and send — so many of these email pitches as a blogger and the president of a digital PR firm — and this was like any other — except for three important mistakes:
1) Brody spammed a list of hundreds of social media, marketing, advertising, and PR A-list bloggers and journalists
2) she sent out the pitch as an open CC email, so every single recipient of the list could a) see each-other b) reply-all and
Learn more by checking out Twitter search and the recent blog posts by Jennifer Leggio for ZDNet‘s Social Business, Public relations fail: A lesson and a rant, and Ken Wheaton’s ADAGES, PR, E-Mail, Social Media: FAIL.
Ok, to be honest, we will all make mistakes in this space. The real issue here is that Beth Brody and Brody PR completely missed an opportunity to throw herself into the conversation. This didn’t have to go nuclear — one of the most common comments is reflected in Jennifer Leggio’s opening, “I try to be supportive of the public relations industry.”
I guarantee you that if Ms. Brody, or one of her staff, were to jump in and beg forgiveness and really address all of the issues of each “reply all” recipient, then this would not have ended up in ZDNet and AdAge — in fact, there were many warnings early on in the Reply All fiasco when folks were begging and pleading for someone — anyone — to jump in and control air traffic!
There was too much time — hours — between the initial mess-up and the stove-piping from email to Twitter and then tothe blogs of the crème de la crème of marketing, PR, advertising, social media bloggers and — wait for it — journalists!
There is a very valuable lesson here for one and for all. On the surface, it seems like the A-lister email blast and the open CC were the kill shots, but they were just contributing factors. Beth Brody and Brody PR, your error was in the realm of crisis management and a failure to respond.
The message — and mistake — got away from you. It happens. But it is completely unacceptable not to cowboy up and throw yourself onto the grenade and practice a little mea maxima culpa marketing.
Update from Beth Brody — Via Email at 5:52PM:
I wanted to explain what happened today and apologize. I created a list of social media experts who might be interested in reviewing a new guide to social media for small biz. I inadvertently put the list name in the cc: box, rather than the bcc: box. A few folks must have hit the “reply all” button, rather than clicking on the “unsubscribe link” at the bottom, which started a stream of spam. Please accept my personal apology, albeit a little late in the day, since I was trying to remove everyone who wanted to be unsubscribed from the list immediately. I have deleted the offending list. Please let me know if you have any more questions about my mistake.