Attention all PR folk and those who try to manage messages: If you're reinventing and rebranding a company, please try not to break the news in an out-of-office e-mail auto-reply message.
Case in point: Maine Home and Design bought PortCity Life magazine back in April, and told Mainebiz that PCL would be "relaunched with a new name and new design" in September. The plan is to make it more of a statewide publication, according to reports at the time, which led to some skepticism from a guy who's written for PCL before.
But either way, the MHD folks were going to use the summer to get things sorted out.
Thing is, Laurie Hyndman, the former PCL owner who will now become managing editor of the rebranded magazine, jumped the gun a little bit.
I sent her an e-mail back in April on a private matter (she and I know each other and I used to freelance for PCL under her ownership, as well as when it was owned by founder Carolyn Cianchette). I sent that note to her at her PortCity Life e-mail address.
On Friday (no idea why the long delay, but oh well), I got an e-mail out-of-office auto-reply from her, saying this:
"Laurie Hyndman is now Managing Editor at Maine Magazine. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org."
The auto-reply also contained her personal e-mail address, which I won't divulge.
Of course, the new publication's name has not yet been announced, and its Web site is still under construction. But keep your eyes peeled - Maine Magazine will be unveiled in September - perhaps with some sort of official notice, rather than just a setting in an e-mail program...