Archive for the ‘pitching’ Category

There has been a lot of negative sentiment lately about PR, first in this article and now in the fallout from BlogHer (which I did not attend, but have been reading about). While the former can be easily refuted on the basis of lazy/crappy journalism, which Shel Holtz eloquently does, the postings from BlogHer should be given more credence, even if they do stereotype us. Ironic though, isn’t it? The practice well known for its ability to shape public opinion and remake bad images has an image problem of its own.

So what then? Do we give ourselves a necessary image makeover? Truth be told, we’ve been trying to do that for some time now. While there are the occasional ethical hiccups and set backs, the PR blogging community has done its best to bring transparency and good practices to the forefront. We call each other out on questionable strategies and tactics and push for a constant progression toward honest, mutually beneficial conversation. There will be bad apples in every profession. But like Susan Getgood, I don’t feel like I need to apologize for my career choice. I’ve always hated “pitching” anyway.

My chat with a friend this morning further solidified my position. All we can do is continue to do what many of us progressives already are — reading, participating, talking, and challenging (daily) the way we do things and why. Brian Solis says it a lot prettier in his post on a related example of unsocial media (follow the link; read the whole thing):

Social Media is about community, which is ultimately about people. Whereas, the PR industry (in a broader sense) is associated with deception, hype, spin, and sales, and as is in major need of an overhaul and some PR for the PR in order to change this crippling reputation.

All service providers within the PR industry need to rethink how they approach Social Media and stop selling it as the next big thing. Walk before you run. Think before you act. Social Media represents the opportunity for PR to put the “Public” back in Public Relations and shed our reputation for BS and spin. It changes the game for everyone, and most PR people and existing services, are not welcome as they exist today. Change and evolution are critical and absolutely required in order to participate.

As we discussed this morning, it really all boils down to finding a way to be PR people, to connect in a sincere way with real people (not markets or audiences or users), and to engage in conversations that make our clients happy as well as the real-live people we are talking with (notice: not “to”).

All of this in theory is really good for young PR people, like me. In practice, well, maybe not so simple (sometimes it’s hard to stand up to the one who signs your tiny paycheck). My first priority — finding a company that appreciates my “social” mindset and not just my trendy Web capabilities. I’ll let you know how that goes.

[An additional note: I decided to post this here for all of my fellow grads, because I hope it will be inspiring. Think about the kinds of things that you stand for before that first day of work. Chances are the PRs sending out those impersonal, ineffective pitches mentioned above are newbies like you and me. Before you follow blindly what your superiors say and do, do a little research and questioning of your own. Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself and back up your claims with proof. Let’s bring the public (or better yet, people) relations back to PR. Sorry this is so cheesy. I’m just a little fired up about people always calling me a “spin doctor” or a “media whore.” PR is more than media relations, pitching and crisis management!]


Read Full Post »