Thursday, January 19, 2006

Will PR Ever Get Better?

The longer you've been doing PR, the more depressed you'll get when you read this: it's a quick primer on how crappy PR people can be; how clueless and junior and feckless.

But what is most depressing is not the content, but the fact that this is merely yet-another-example. Diatribes like this one from SWMS have been published for and about the PR industry for as long as I can remember.

Whatever happened to the themes of continuous improvement? Why are PR agencies not investing more time and attention to best practices? Why do we continue to let barely-trained greenhorns trammel our industry's reputation by setting them loose on a cynical press corps?

Train for excellence. Measure for results.

This must become our mantra.

3 Comments:

Blogger SageOne said...

I stumbled upon your site by accident, which is funny because I'm a PR/Marketing guy...been doing it for 10+ years. Prior to PR, I was a reporter. So, I've been on both sides of the fence so to speak. Your comments are justified...somewhat. As you know, agency PR is a tough gig. You are working on behalf of many companies at one time. Attention to detail is critical. In dealing with reporters, we are trained to be nice and polite to reporters because they can make or break a product, company, executive, etc. I would agree that some of those "call to actions" were very junior in nature. However, what bugs me about PR, specifically media relations and tech writers, is the fact that can get away with publishing something like this. What if an agency was to print something pointing out all the errors in one edition of their paper? Why is it that the media is up on this mantle and PR folks are treated like animals? I guess it's the nature of the business. We need them more than they need us. There are more of us than there are of them. Reporters are swamped with requests. I would argue that 60% of them are legit requests, well-written pitches or thoughout communications. Why doesn't the media praise those that do...instead they pick out the few PR hacks that aren't trained enough to know better.

As an industry, you are right. We should expect more and expect better. However, there are more opportunities to get into the PR field and more money. And because of that there are going to be companies who hire future PR execs right out of college. I would argue that most of the folks this reporter was making fun of are very inexperienced or lazy. A good PR person knows that if a reporter doesn't get back to after the second pitch that it's dead. Leave it be. But that only comes with experience. My point here is that it's not the people making the errors pointed out here that make the PR industry look bad, it's the senior execs who don't take the time to nurture and properly train newbies.

January 19, 2006  
Blogger PR-Guy said...

Hi SageOne -
"My point here is that it's not the people making the errors pointed out here that make the PR industry look bad, it's the senior execs who don't take the time to nurture and properly train newbies."
Couldn't agree more!

January 22, 2006  
Blogger PR Minority said...

PR newbies should be required to have some understanding of Microsoft Office. I spend so much time training people how to use these programs, often times I feel more like an IT support for the office. Effiency and time management starts with knowing how to use the programs. Using templates and proper formats differ with each agency.

Becoming a good pitching-machine comes with experience but feedback adjusted to an employees learning style helps greatly.

Check out slide 12: http://www.prsourcecode.com/news/PRSourceCodesTopTechPRAgencyRankingStudy2005.pdf

Where is the manager on this one?

January 30, 2006  

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