by Jonathan Trenn
I just read to intriguing posts on PR. One is by Michael Arrington on, of course, TechCrunch. It would be a great piece except that I disagree with his key point.
I figured I’d add my two cents here, somewhat separate from the above, but nevertheless related to them.
Why PR is a mess? Because we’ve – in the haste to make money and keep on top of things – have made it that way. I’m talking PR firms. PR firms usually hire a slew of young people. Often, mostly women these days. They’re enthusiastic. They’re inexpensive. They’re green. That doesn’t mean that they lack talent. It means they lack experience, contacts, and, at times knowledge.
But that happens in a lot of professions.
The firm will get a client from a pitch. The CEO of the client or whomever is/are the key person/people at the client firm don’t really understand PR. They see it as fluff. They see young women in these positions and see it as if these people are marketing administrators. But they want press coverage and think that most publications have people sitting around in rooms waiting around faxed press releases or emails or phone calls and their product/service is so great that the editor will stop the presses to do story.
The client may be in a niche field and the PR firm may be generalists.
To get maximum exposure, the PR firm may end up doing a blast fax/email after also using PRNewswire or BusinessWire. Then the relatively young people follow up. They don’t have those relationships yet so they may screw up.
Editors and producers and reporters often will get bombarded. Now it’s bloggers. But they should realize that it comes with the territory. For the most part. I still read blogs that complain – completely legitimately – that they’ll get hit on for everything.
But part of the problem is that the need for PR may outweigh the number of people who understand certain niches, have the contacts, and are available. So the need for PR then gets spread to these firms that rely on younger people.
So it can be a mess. But that doens’t mean it’s always wrong. What agencies need to do is take their new hires and cultivate them. Give them some extra cash to meet and grab some grub with reporters. Don’t just teach them your procedures, teach them how to be professionals. They represent your company.
A note about Gerris digital
Oddly, for a virtual company, there’s little disconnect. Maybe it’s because we’re social media based. Dealing with bloggers is like suggesting. Each attempt is not a life and death situation. Please, please, please cover my client dear editor. Doesn’t happen. That’s hard for a virtual company to pull off. And AH has.