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SteveJURASSIC JOURNOSAURISTS: QUIT YOUR WHINING
IT'S BORING & ANNOYING
I normally don't do posts like these, but this one was forced on me. Yesterday a bunch of bloggers and journalists were blasting and trashing PR people because of a post by a BusinessWeek columnist and blogger named Sarah Lacy. The post started off like any good post would. Objective. Balanced. Clear. Specific. Professional...
"I don't hate PR people. Really. When I say some of them are my best friends, I actually mean that. (Shout out to Miss Hammerling! Holla!) I just don't understand why 90% of them lack total common sense."Hmmm, okay, maybe not. Anyway, a blogger I respect and work with took up her cause and jumped on the "PR people are stupid bandwagon."
"Sarah Lacy makes a lot of sense in this column about PR pitches, and the all too common mistakes that PR people make - even on simple crap, like getting names and locations right. I know why she's writing this, too - I get a fair number of email pitches, and I'm laboring away in a tiny niche of the technology space - who knows how many lame pitches come her way? Scoble has written on this topic a bunch of times, saying the same thing. Maybe we just need better PR people - you know, the kind that can use Google, and know something (anything, really) about the products they are pitching..."
PULLS A SCOBLE OUT OF A HAT
I was okay with the vent, typical stuff, see it everyday.
But then ... he had to go and pull a "Scoble" out of the hat.
That did it.
I tried to comment on his blog several times but for some inexplicable reason the response didn't take.
So here it is.
AN ARROGANT AND USELESS POST
Although I respect you, your work and your opinion - I couldn't disagree with you more on this one. Her post was arrogant and useless.
Useless, because good PR people wouldn't pitch the way she described and don't need her pedantic puerile attitude or information. Then, she insulted 90% of the hard-working people in the profession. The people that do pitch like that wouldn't read what she wrote anyway. Even if they did, they wouldn't care. It was a waste of her time and effort. Useless.
Arrogant, because most good PR people are tired of this condescending, "holier-than-thou-I'm-great, you're-stupid," shtick of a blog post by another whining journalist, columnist, blogger or whatever her claim to fame is. It's been repeated Ad nauseam. Do a copy and compare. Been done a gazillion times - argumentum ad infinitum vomitus eruptus.
I'M NOT GOOD
I'm not a good PR person - below average at best. But I've never pitched like that. And I'm below average. I've worked with a lot of good ones though - and they would never do that. She paints and taints an entire profession with her harpy brush.
BUT GOOD IS NOT HARD
GOOD PR is now more about being "found" by search engines, connecting and building relationships with people ... not blasting out blind, inaccurate pitches. The question is, how to do that in today's hyper-hyper communications environment? Best I can tell from what I've seen ...
GOOD PR fights daily on the battleground of content and story, sharing helpful ideas, information and insights to EARN the right of "attention."
GOOD PR helps find the essence, the heart of the story, and tells it. The heart being the value, the problem solved, the net positive change effected. That works for any product. Any market. Any time. Any place.
GOOD PR tells that story with honesty, authenticity, specificity, and does it sans all the useless corporate gobbledygook that unfortunately proliferates in business.
"WOE IS ME" SYNDROME
Whiny journalists like the one you mention spend too much time complaining "WOE IS ME."
Just hit the frigging delete button. How hard is that?
Because of Expert Access I get a lot of email pitches too. Some of these pitches have absolutely no - ZERO - relevance.
Thankfully, I've learned how to deal with it, without government intervention or psychological counseling.
I follow a genetically intuitive program.
4-STEP PROGRAM TO WIPE OUT "WOE IS ME" SYNDROME
STEP 1: DELETE, ERASE, IGNORE - often and with alacrity
STEP 2: QUIT WHINING!
STEP 3- Repeat Step 2- then don't write about it.
STEP 4: Repeat Step 3. Then move on.
NEW JURASSIC JOURNOSAURIST REALITIES
There are two major realities going on right now in the marketing/pr/media world that we happen to work in.
1. There are about 26.7 million small-to-medium size businesses in the US. Each one wants media attention/coverage - PR.
2. Journalists are being laid off en masse, eviscerated, due to lost and shrinking revenues (mostly classified ad revenue). They're doing more and more with less and less. The "advertising revenue asteroid" is remaking the world, turning the whiners into Jurassic Journosaurists. The professional journalists will flourish and be more in demand than ever. Why? Because they'll be working - not whining.
DO THE MATH
Most good companies and products don't stand a chance of getting coverage through the traditional route with journalists because of those two new realities. There are simply too many companies - too few journalists.
From that same post you cite:
"the deck is stacked against you from the beginning, since most reporters get hundreds of pitches a day and almost never write a story that comes from a pitch."GOOD PR means you have to creatively attract people (buyers/media) to you with content as described above.
"YOU'RE NOT REAL"- QUOTE ATTRIBUTABLE TO STUPID & SCUMMY
Journalists who think they're great and PR people are stupid and scummy are not real journalists. They're wasting their time whining, mired in the throes of the 'Woe is Me Syndrome" when they could be discovering and covering a company or story that deserves it.
Works both ways. PR people that pitch the way she describes are not professional PR people either.
WARNING!! BLASPHEMY AHEAD WILL ROBINSON!
You mentioned Scoble in your post.
Scoble isn't relevant to the PR - Media discussion.
He's too far out there for the majority of businesses. I've seen him speak. I've seen him demo. He seems like a wonderfully warm, genuinely nice, sincere and obviously passionate guy -- but also one that had about 595 of the 600 people at the conference I was attending holding their heads, looking for Duct Tape to keep them from exploding.
Scoble is all tech, all-the-time. I've seen his advice "just dump the PR people and Demo your product." Uhh...that's okay if you're selling low-cost, simple products that sell themselves. No-brainer. It's not okay, and is a totally unrealistic and out-of-touch strategy for a B2B complex sale product with a high dollar price tag. Why? Because ...
THE DEMO IS THE LEAST OF YOUR WORRIES
When we get in a complex sales cycle (our company) we have to deal with buyer evaluation committees, consisting typically of 10-25 people, all with differing personalities, titles, departments and agenda's. The DEMO is a given. It's the least of your worries. The very minimum you need to do to get into serious consideration for the sale. It either works or you'll never get to first base with the buyer committee.
SOME GOOD PR PEOPLE TO CHECK OUT
There are a lot of good PR folks out there that understand this. They're doing it everyday. They all want to be successful at what they do. Just like you, just like me. They invest their time, money, sweat and lives to it. To paint 90% of them with the whining Jurassic Journosaurist mantra is boring. Annoying. Arrogant. Useless.
YOU MIGHT NOT HEAR ABOUT THEM
You might not hear about them because ... they're working, not whining. Check them out: