Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Can Blogs Help Ward-Off Youthful Transgressions?

Look around any PR agency and you'll soon realize that this is a young person's game. Most staffers are under age 30. Sure, there are some "gray-hairs" in the management ranks, but it's rare to see an agency PR pro in their late 50's. It seems that many PR professionals start out in the agency world but wind up in a corporate marketing department...

I love hangin' with the young whippersnappers; I applaud their energy & fresh thinking, but, I sometimes find it frustrating to see age-old mistakes being made because so few agencies have made training and best-practices a priority. This is an easy trap to fall into - lord knows it is a never-ending battle for us - because as an industry, PR is so laser-focused on the daily Client Service demands that we're usually happy to just have enough "arms-and-legs" to get the basic work done.

I wonder if "new media" resources like the BadPitch Blog, Forward, the Marcomblog and the Publicity Hound, et al., can ultimately help PR agency newbies to avoid youthful transgressions? Might we make these educational PR blogs mandatory reading? Maybe each agency-owned computer should come pre-configured with these RSS feeds already set-up for new hires?

Wouldn't it be great if esteem for the PR industry could make incremental gains, year over year, instead of playing defense so often, for the same rookie mistakes?

4 Comments:

Anonymous Richard Bailey said...

Quite. This ageism could be a structural weakness in the PR industry (it's just as apparent here in the UK). Partly for reasons you cite; partly because clients tend to be older - will they always respect and accept advice from those who are junior to them?

But you're a principal in your business: what's to stop you developing and retaining your staff, or even recruiting people with experience?

April 12, 2006  
Blogger PR-Guy said...

Richard, you make interesting points about potential ageism in PR... Thanks for the comments.

As for my commitment to developing and retaining staff - it's core to what I try to do every day. Most of our core group have been with us for over 6 years, and some as long as 12 years! ... Plus, ya might check out the bi-coastal "Best Places To Work" awards mentioned in today's earlier blog entry! ;)

My larger point is that it IS a struggle to create and continually inculcate best practices, in an agency market that is often marked by churn in the junior ranks.

April 12, 2006  
Anonymous Paull Young said...

Todd, I noted in a recent post at Forward that young PR's have never been able to learn as much from experienced industry professionals as we can in the blogosphere.

It's a remarkable resource, particularly for us young 'uns who are still learning.

Your point that PR blogs should be required reading is extremely valid, and I'd say that even if I wasn't involved in one of the sites you mention!

My question is: how many PR firms out there are advising their young PR's to get blogging?

April 18, 2006  
Anonymous Jeffrey Treem said...

Todd,

If we want to help young communicators avoid pitfalls and learn best practices, we shouldn't wait until they are on the job, it should began in the classrooms.

How many PR or communications programs are integrating these new media resources into their lessons? How many students are exposed to these free and plentiful resources? As someone merely one year removed from a graduate PR program, I can say it is a depressing few.

The habits of learning and growth have to be established before individuals reach the workplace, because after that the focus is always going to be on client service.

April 19, 2006  

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