Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How lame are public relations practitioners?
Very, very lame
Why I became a Marketing $ociologist


Go to any communications sites like Ragan.com, Bulldogreporter.com, OdwyerPR.com. There’s an ongoing dialog about the status of public relations. Let me tell you as both a former public relations practitioner and also a journalist, public relations is as dead as Elvis Presley.

Allow me to site some examples. Disney’s D23 had an extensive public relations staff, 13 or more, I’d say. Yet the person credentialing the press was a consultant out of the Bay area who was a former Disney employee. Having a blog in the world’s top five percent wasn’t good enough to get credentials. I paid FULL price for everything I got at D23, including parking.

After many harried calls and several weeks of trying, within an hour of Bandslam sneak preview, a message was left on my phone that I could see it. Full disclosure – an independent PR firm, not the film company’s PR staff, sent me the soundtrack – thank you very much.

Was in Los Angeles this past weekend speaking at the Film, Stage and Showbiz Expo (great event). Same night Emily Osment opening for Honor Society at House of Blues. Knew I’d never get in since it was Honor Society. After a week of emails and phone calls, her record label sent me an email on Friday – same deal as D23; having a blog in the world’s top 5 percent not important enough. Imagine how a weekly paper in Dallas or Atlanta is treated by these PR hacks.

Monday I discovered Ashley Tisdale is going to be in Scottsdale tomorrow. Not even 18 hours from the event and don’t have any credentials and it will be nearly impossible to get in. It wasn’t a press release or phone call that tipped me to Tisdale – it was her tweet. That’s how lame PR people are today.

Same deal with Osment, D23, all found through tweets. PR people don’t know where to find the Internet decision makers like Social Butterflies. If it ain’t TMZ or Perez Hilton, not important.

When I was practicing public relations, you answered a phone call immediately – from any media. You never knew if that guy from Amarillo would end up at the New York Times – and they’ll remember how your agency screwed them.

Back to Tisdale. I called her Warner Brothers record label. Impossible to get anyone through their automated system. Disney and even Taylor Swift’s Big Machine label have the same lame answering machine. Called someone in a nearby office I know and they gave me the Warner Bros. person’s name. Emailed twice, tweet and two phone calls – no response; on one phone call spoke to her and she said she’d call back. Never did.

Got hold of Microsoft’s outside public relations agency today around 1 p.m.; one of the nation’s largest agencies. The new Microsoft store in Scottsdale is dispensing tickets for Tisdale’s event. Now it is around 8 p.m., 7 hours after the fact. Was told someone would get back to me – what, when Jerry Lewis becomes premier of China?

Celebrity Fight Night in Phoenix refused to even consider a blogger covering Jordin Sparks’ performance that was way after all the main events.

If you want me, Twitter PhoenixRichard. There’s only one person who answers tweets faster than me, Anthony Robbins; another consultant advocating excellence. Yet PR people are demonstrating daily how lame they are and it is a spiral, it gets worse and worse as the lame ones train the new practitioners. For these opinions, I was called an A-hole by another blogger yesterday.

Guess if you offer excellence while the rest of the world is offering sub-par service, you are the A-hole to those who don’t know what excellence is or don't want to bother to deliver it.

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Addendum - Check this LinkedIn question and the title of the person asking it (hope you check it out and are as horrified as I am by the answers. Imagine an airline pilot asking this question and getting the same answers. Would you fly that plane?):

Looking for some recommendations on free PR sites.

There are alot of PR sites out there. I am looking to find out ones you have used and think are best. We have not used PR in the past and are looking to start. Any tips on how to get started? Is a good 1st Press Release a description of your company, then what comes next? I am finding alot of different answers on the internet which I am finding more confusing than helpful and would like to get your opinions on some things you have used to get started. Any kind of information would be helpful.

Marketing Coordinator/Office Manager/Consultant

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