Unsolicited “Embargoed” Press Releases Are Absurd

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Unsolicited "Embargoed" Press Releases Are Absurd

I received this “embargoed” press release the other day. The names have been changed to avoid slander and libel.

Greetings Christopher:

Just bringing this exciting news to the top of your inbox!! The release is embargoed until 8am EDT tomorrow, Tuesday, August 17! Interviews with our CEO are available upon request!

Please see an EMBARGOED release pasted below from TECHCOMPANY, the first cloud-based marketing leadership platform, announcing that its leading marketing planning application is now listed in the MARTECHCOMPANY App Marketplace. App Partners are independent software vendors which have built an integration with MARTECHCOMPANY and been accepted to the App Marketplace. TECHCOMPANY is backed by a $4 million seed round co-led by WEALTHYVALLEYDUDES fund – both of which reupped in July 2021 based on their confidence in the company’s success trajectory.

The company currently works with over 100 customers and reports $100M in revenue.

With this integration, TECHCOMPANY now supports importing performance metrics from MARTECHCOMPANY directly into a customer’s marketing plan to see the latest results from campaigns.

Allowing marketers to now collect metrics from landing pages and email campaigns created in MARTECHCOMPANY, as well as external campaigns such as LinkedIn or Facebook will help them calculate the true business value of their marketing, identifying what initiatives are actually performing, for better decision-making.

“TECHCOMPANY has numerous customers that use MARTECHCOMPANY for executing digital campaigns, so we are excited about the integration knowing it will help our customers more accurately prove and improve the value of their marketing,” said TECH GUY, CEO, TECHCOMPANY.

Please let me know if you’re interested in an introductory call with TECH GUY, Founder and CEO, to discuss TECHCOMPANY’s mission as well as this exciting MARTECHCOMPANY plus insight into the company plans for the remainder of 2021 and in 2022.

TECH GUY can discuss the fact that the intersection of AI, marketing and customer intelligence is a heated battleground. In fact he is also co-author of the book, ANOTHER MARKETING BOOK!

Looking forward to your feedback!

Please kindly honor the embargo noted above.

Let’s clarify a couple of things.

An embargo is an agreement. For those who have never dealt with public relations, an embargo is an agreement between two entities that the news being shared will be kept in confidence until a specific time. Think of an embargo as a temporary NDA. I as the issuer need to secure your agreement as the recipient in order for the embargo to be valid and binding. Sending a news release to someone unsolicited is like sending me confidential information first, and then asking me to sign an NDA afterwards. That’s not how contracts work.

An unsolicited, “embargoed” press release is absurd, the height of self-centered arrogance on the part of the company requesting it. It presumes that the news is valuable enough to keep secret in the first place (which in this particular instance it most certainly is not), and it presumes that the company has the clout to unilaterally ask someone to adhere to a non-disclosure agreement that they didn’t agree to.

Very few companies have news that has earned an embargo of any kind, that is so valuable and so attention-getting that a journalist, influencer, or publisher would want to coordinate with that company. An embargo is inherently self-serving for the company requesting it – it usually means the company is trying to time news coverage to coincide with other marketing initiatives. There’s no added value to the publishing party, no reason to withhold something if the audience would find it appealing. Thus, the news had better be impressive to merit an embargo.

So what’s the key takeaway here? Two things:

First, don’t send unsolicited news releases as “embargoed”. It just makes you look foolish and shows a lack of maturity about how public relations works. News is only embargoed if both parties agree to it beforehand, like a contract. If you don’t obtain agreement in advance, the other party has no obligation to respect your embargo.

Second, if your company or your client insists on an embargo for its news, then test it for whether it deserves one. How? Do what I did above and anonymize the news and share it with folks. I removed the company name, brand, and personalities. Reading the release above, is it compelling enough that someone not employed at your company or client would say, “Gosh, I really wish I knew what company this was?” If so, then you probably have grounds to reach out to publishers and ask for an embargo.

On the other hand, if you read the anonymized news release and you say, “This reads like literally every industry company announcement ever, and I don’t care who it is”, then your news isn’t really news. It definitely doesn’t merit an embargo, and it might not even merit releasing as news. Put it up in the company newsroom, tweet about it once or twice, and then let it take its place in the graveyard of unremarkable corporate announcements.

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