Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What not to do in public relations

This morning I woke up to a major public relations Web site recommending a link of interest to public relations professionals. Love to keep current on what others in marketing communications are thinking.

Glaringly this is what I ran into: “5. Does the agency follow up every news release with phone calls to the media, asking ‘Did you get my release?’”

Honestly, this is why I adopted the Marketing Sociologist mantra. Public relations practitioners have given a black eye to the field. Matter of fact, here was point "6. Does the agency seem to think PR stands for ‘press release?’”

I just answered a question on LinkedIn and was attack by the asker. The question was, Do’s and Don’t’s of publicity and interviews. My point is this is the 21st Century and you can not base your image, brand, whatever you want to call it on FREE press releases. Many potential clients are lost because I believe in a strategic plan rather than recommending media relations, or PR – press releases.

I have attempted to work at several public relations agencies during my career. One wanted 15 page press releases at the minimum and one where I lasted a week had interns spending their entire days calling media asking them if they got the press releases. It worked, too. The agency refused to put any of the releases on their own letterhead, hiding behind clients – passing on this annoying way of doing business so future agencies will not have any luck getting coverage for those businesses.

I once quit a client because they wanted me to abuse the relationship I’ve built with journalists. I started as journalist; I am a journalist. I know their pains. That’s why I’ve maintained a 97% placement rate throughout my career – 40 years now.

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