Managing My (Now) 8 PR Pet Peeves – – All I Need is Love

Beatles - All You Need Is Love

Earlier this year I wrote about my five PR Pet Peeves:

#5: Client or prospect says, “I want to hire someone that has a good Rolodex” insinuating that the relationship we have precludes the story we are pitching.

#4: Those who want to send the pitch out to everyone and see who picks it up.

#3: Let’s spin that. Put a positive spin on that. Go do some PR on that.

#2: There’s no such thing as bad PR.

#1: I didn’t say that. The reporter took what I said out of context.

Apparently, I have more peeves of the pet variety:

Sending out a news release without following up – The caveat here is if you are sending out a release over the wire (PR Newswire, Business Wire, PR Web, etc.) for the sole reason of getting ranked higher on Google searches. Go for it. May want to consider writing a blog instead, but have at it.

However, if you are thinking the Good Morning America producer, the education reporter at the Washington Post or the business editor at the Chicago Tribune are waiting to receive your release sent out over one of the PR newswire services, forget it. Not going to happen. Major media. In the United States.

If you are a publicly-held company reporting your earnings, yes, the business wire services (Reuters, Dow Jones, Bloomberg) may use parts of the release – including a quote – but for the average company sending out a release over the wire thinking that major media (and a live person at the major outlet) will see and use…Not the case.

Relying on the vehicle more than the message – Many people are enamored by the myriad of touchpoints available to reach their real audience. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of the book of face, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Companies should be absolutely taking advantage of these different ways to get what they want out to the right people. Those not doing so are not only missing the boat, they are missing opportunities to increase revenues, better public perception, etc.

The challenge occurs when the proper care is not used in developing and crafting the key messages. Empty and/or inappropriate/irrelevant messages do no good whatsoever.

Throwing marketing, advertising and PR under the same umbrella – While we are all communication professionals we all take a different approach. You wouldn’t want a podiatrist to perform heart surgery (trouble would be afoot). Asking an advertising agency to write a release is not the best approach. Ideally, you’d want the three disciplines to work together…wait a second, what am I doing….

I love public relations. Why am I focusing on some of the challenges we face on a daily basis? Here are three of the many aspects of public relations that rock:

Creating the story – The full story. Taking what we need to get across and developing around it. Looking at the story a different way. Going out for a walk and having “it” come to you. Bouncing your idea off of a colleague. Getting it to the compelling stage.

The chase – Knowing “that outlet” is the right one to reach the real audience and doing whatever it takes to get a hold off the reporter/producer and making it happen. Finding answers to possible hurdles.

Seeing the fruition of my efforts – The day I don’t find myself getting up early to get a copy of USA Today, looking on with anticipation at the local 5pm news or waiting – not so patiently – for the story to load on my laptop is the day I’ll be hanging it up.

What are your “loves” with public relations? Whatever they are, hold onto and embrace them – – they will help you manage and deal with those pesky pet peeves.

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2 thoughts on “Managing My (Now) 8 PR Pet Peeves – – All I Need is Love

  1. All good stuff, but my favorite…

    “#5: Client or prospect says, “I want to hire someone that has a good Rolodex” insinuating that the relationship we have precludes the story we are pitching.” OMFG! This one has ALWAYS irked me. For example (Andy may remember me ranting about this during our Publicis days)…

    A tech startup CEO sat across from me in a D.C. restaurant in 1999 and said, “Who do you know at BusinessWeek?” I wanted to smack him…until the agency CEO sitting with me SUPPORTED him by saying, “Well, one of us (in the agency) has a contact there.” (Did I mention it was a new business meeting? And, as it happens, D.C. people really do believe that it IS all about the relationships.) BTW, right before that lovely exchange, the CEO said he wanted us to buy him an ad – for his B2B tech company – in the first quarter of that year’s Super Bowl. The conversation took place in October of that year. Ad buyers – feel free to laugh.

    For the record:
    – My (ethically challenged?) agency leader did win the client account.
    – During the first major media engagement I secured for the company (despite their laughably weak story, I get them a sit-down with InformationWeek), the CEO utterly embarrassed himself and the company by ignoring all my counsel, and antagonized the reporters in the process.
    – The client company collapsed within one year.
    – The agency I worked for at the time sold itself a few years later.

    1. Mike – Thanks for the comment. If I’m remembering your career path correctly, I know of which agency you speak of (said agency where we enjoyed a nice long bike ride), and this surprises me not.

      Here’s the deal – – having a contact that you’ve worked with before IS helpful in that they will recognize your name and – hopefully – know that you’ll be pitching a good story. If anyone believes a reporter or producer is going to do a story because you are friends…not the case.

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