Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bad Public Relations! Bad! Bad!

Over at Mediabistro they’re having a good ol’ fashioned dust-up over blacklisting and [dramatic music] When Public Relations Goes Bad. [music fade]

Jeebus, is there a profession more filled with self-loathing than PR? Everybody gets that it’s a bad idea to waste your client’s money, the journo’s time and your own dignity by pitching something completely irrelevant to the medium at hand.

Paul Brown made that point – rudely and naively but pretty comically – in 1991. Is there really so much more to be said about it?

1991. What were you doing in 1991?

But let’s face it: We have clients (and bosses and shareholders) to serve and if you’re not willing to put your dignity on the line from time to time, you’ve got no skin in the game. And where’s the fun in that?

Now PRSquared is getting in on the action with a Seven-point plan to “wake up” the industry.

Thanks, guys.

We needed that.

Consider your relevant media tushes kissed.

There’s nothing wrong with the guidelines or code or oath or … whatever per se, but why the compulsion to change? To establish unilateral rules? At some point it’s like an abusive relationship where the victim resolves to “stop bringing it on myself.”

Here’s a nice rule, call it #8: Don’t be a jerk. Pretty simple, and it goes both ways. It means that if you’re working a media relations project and a scribe tells you that your story doesn’t fit, thank him or her for their time and wish them luck. If you’re a reporter and you get a call from somebody with an idea only tangentially related to your beat, say thanks but decline.

But have some bloody manners, both of you.

By the way, if you start a blog called and somebody pitches you a new microwave oven, have a little patience as you explain that your sole focus is on fluorescent vinyl siding. Or blenders. Or whatever. Then think about your naming strategy. Just a little.

One more thing: It’s a good idea for all concerned to remember that everybody has a first day … on the job, in the profession, on the account or on the beat. You did, too.

Be excellent to each other.

Oh yeah: And quit whining.

image cred


Todd Defren said...

Pretty sure I never suggested PR needed a wake-up call. My post was aimed to make good Media Relations dead-simple for newbies (including giving them "permission" to push back on dumb clients or managers).

Other than that clarification, I pretty much agree with your post here.

Lally said...

Thanks, Todd.

And congratulations on the SABREs.