PR agencies are needed. PR people are needed. There I said it. I know. * shock *
I’m one of many that participate in the sport of PR people bashing. But then I bash politicians, dull gits, businesses, SEO folks and everything. There are many faults with some PR people who got into the job for whatever reason and don’t want to do the hard graft and also don’t want to tell a client they’re being stupid and to cop the feck on. Instead they’ll fling out press releases to anyone and everyone (I got one about a fridge last week!) even when the release is not newsworthy but the client dictated word should be spread. Good PR people are not part of the story if they’re good. Bad PR people turn into a story.
Now we see loads of mostly tech bloggers and blogs saying PR is dead, dying or not needed.
PR people and companies are needed in my view to be the filters and the polishers of rough communications, to find something interesting in the pile of bland a company offers up, to teach companies how to make their lips move and tell their story in a meaningful way. That’s just one aspect of PR.
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Having a tech blogger find out about your product and talk it up without you the tech company doing any work whatsoever is not how it works even if you build a great product. Newsflash. Geniuses are plentiful. Great products are plentiful. Throw a stone in Silicon Valley and you’ll find a great product. Scoble’s post where he found a great company is that company winning the lottery. Same odds I should think. Scoble is a natural force, he’s a hurricane of wonder and evangelism. For every great product Scoble finds there are dozens he won’t find or maybe 100s. And there are not a lot of Scobles in the world.
A good PR person sends information to a journalist or blogger they know, knowing that what they send is valuable and knowing the journalist will be happy with the information. Spray and pray never comes into it.
A good PR person takes what their client is mumbling and not communicating and turns it into something that’s polished enough for the general public to understand and that PR person has said client communicate it via networking or doing it for them in terms of press releases.
A good PR person also makes their client realise what they need to change about their product, service and the way they communicate it to the public.
Remember we’re now in information deluge time. More information from everyone going to everyone. Journalists are swamped and have less time for a story these days too. Even Mike Arrington from TechCrunch talks about 23,000 unread emails in his mailbox. That’s a lot of companies trying to get found that don’t get found in Arrington’s mailbox. We’re not all one degree apart from Scoble so a friend can introduce him to your beta.
PR is hard, it’s soul sapping. Despite me saying I don’t do PR for people, I did four press releases in the past week and it’s draining writing something good and interesting even when you have great material to work with. Imagine doing this day in and day out? No thanks. It also takes time and effort for those not used to it.
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I think there’s a bigger opportunity then ever for PR people as it becomes cheaper to build businesses and cheaper for people to distribute information online. Who’ll be there to direct the information and show how to direct it? Of course companies need to realise they need to do PR (and have good sales skills) but that’s another whiney post to come.
Tom probably thinks I’m a muppet since I too am an outsider looking in and so I don’t understand his industry and have used the term PR instead of the term media relations. So is it a PR or marketing issue that people are calling this PR? 🙂
Read what Kerry has to say too.