Puzzling ‘PR’: At least tell me a story, willya?

Just now I received a “press release” of sorts from the author of an ebook. Ironically he’s getting the buzz he wanted (me to post about him), but it’s worth it so you can learn something like I just did.

Upon receiving this email, I instantly trashed it. Opening up a second email from someone in the PR game, and I thought she might appreciate knowing why I took that instant trashing action. As I wrote her an email, it made me think a bit more deeply about what was wrong about what he did and his approach.

The “self-PR’ed” author of the ebook just blasted out this ‘press release’ with zero personalization — which I usually receive so it at least appears the PR person has some awareness of my blog and its thrust. Not even a paragraph of introduction on why a blogger like me would have ANY interest in what he’s offering which would’ve been trivial to do.

Here’s the kicker:  If he had started off telling me a story about why he wrote this, maybe that he had a full-time job so couldn’t afford to take the time to personalize the email (and say “sorry about that” or something to that effect), nor that he was in no position to retain a PR agency adept in social media to help him get the word out, I might’ve looked at this email and thought, “Hmmm….I’d like to help this guy out” and did a mention on my blog. He made a fundamental error in not finding some way to connect with me, and telling me his backstory on why he wrote it, what drove him to offer it, and so forth. (Note: and it goes without saying that the story better be true).

So it got trashed instead, until I decided to send her an email and then realized it would make a good post. The so-called press release is after the jump for your consideration.


From: Jesse Torres <_________@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Dec 15, 2008 at 10:11 AM
Subject: Community Banker’s Guide to Social Network Marketing
To: steve@iconnectdots.com



December 5, 2008     

Jesse Torres

(310) XXX.XXXX


Redondo Beach, CA — The Center for Financial Executive Education (CFEE) and CFEE Board member Jesse Torres today announced the release of Mr. Torres’ latest ebook, “Community Banker’s Guide to Social Network Marketing.”  Mr. Torres, author of the highly praised “Community Banker’s Guide to Hispanic Marketing,” addresses in his latest ebook, the developing discipline of social network marketing and its impact on community bankers.

In the Community Banker’s Guide to Social Network Marketing, Mr. Torres addresses social networks, user demographics and the role of social networks within the greater sphere of social media.  Also addressed at length is the development of viral marketing programs, consumer advocacy, conversational marketing, metrics and common pitfalls.  A free copy of the Guide is available at www.JesseTorres.com/cbgsnm/cbgsnm.pdf.

“This ebook is intended to provide community bankers with a roadmap to establishing a loyal and trustworthy reputation within the Web 2.0 world.  As the influence of traditional marketing continues to fade and as peer-to-peer networks increasingly determine buying preferences, community bankers must understand the importance of incorporating social networks into the overall marketing plan of their organizations in order maximize their inherent advantage over larger regional and national competitors,” said Mr. Torres.  “Social network marketing is about creating and nurturing conversations with consumers in order to determine how to best serve their needs while developing trust and respect.  Community bankers’ competitive advantage is based upon their ability to understand and meet the needs of their local communities.  As such, community bankers are better positioned to take advantage of social networks than their larger peers.”

According to the Guide, the number of social network users grew 25% between June 2007 and June 2008.  Further, as of June 2008, social network users represented 67% of all Internet users, as more than one-fifth of adults around the world visit social networking Web sites.

Jesse has launched an official Facebook page for the Community Banker’s Guide to Social Network Marketing.  Jesse invites readers to visit him on Facebook to provide comments and to continue the conversation that was started with the release of the Guide.

Jesse Torres is President and Chief Operating Officer of Security Savings Bank in Henderson, Nevada.  He is a regular speaker at banking industry conferences and seminars, he serves on the West Coast Anti-Money Laundering Forum, Center for Financial Executive Education and is a former Chairman of the Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce.  Previously Mr. Torres was a regulator with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a Senior Consultant with KPMG Peat Marwick and a senior officer at several banks in the Los Angeles area.  He is a graduate of UCLA and the Pacific Coast Banking School at the University of Washington.  Jesse can be reached by e-mail at __________@gmail.com.  He can also be found on LinkedIn at _____________.

The Center for Financial Executive Education, a non-profit organization, provides educational and networking opportunities to America’s financial executives.

 # # #

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  1. Steve Borsch on December 15, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    Thanks for weighing Jesse…and for not coming across as bugged or defensive! I’m not sure I would’ve been as gracious as you were in this comment.

    Several times I’ve done some incredibly boneheaded things on this blog, in my podcast and on Twitter. People pointed it out in many ways: some nasty, some as instructive for others, and some feeling pity that I wasn’t educated properly. ;-)

    Good luck with your Guide and on getting it into the hands of those who need it the most.

  2. Jesse Torres on December 15, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    Steve, great way to teach me a lesson!

    You are spot on in that I should have taken a moment to tell you the story. Instead I chose to send you the generic press release.

    So here it is. I wrote the Community Banker’s Guide to Social Network Marketing for a few reasons: first, the train my staff and educate my board on the project upon which we were about to embark; second, to share what I feel turned out to be a valuable tool for community bankers in battling and keeping on a level playing field with larger institutions; and, third to keep my writing chops and professional reputation up to date.

    You are correct in your assessment about my use of a PR firm to circulate the message. I am a fully employed banker. As such, I am short on time in getting the message across and relied on the generic PR. Having said that, I am sure you would agree that the ebook has value.

    Regardless, your post nailed it and exposed a crucial flaw. I compare it to job seekers’ resumes I receive on an ongoing basis. They should be as personalized as possible. Tough way to get taught a lesson.

    Thanks so much for calling me on it. It definitely has been a way to improve myself going forward and a good way to learn for your readers.


    Jesse Torres

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.