Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It's a Shame

Seriously, is PR going to learn?

I posted a long post - some called it a rant, others didn't like it, but I view it as a wake-up call because I do care about my profession. It's about passion, and I rather have passion than become so beaten down to have no passion about anything.

So, I get to wake up today and read a long list of email addresses from Chris Anderson, he of Wired and The Long Tail. Chris had his own Howard Beale moment - he's mad as hell and not going to take it anymore - and I don't blame him. I receive the same bad pitches all the time - and from some of the same PR firms. Is Chris right in calling out the firms and people - I think he is. There's enough education that people should know better, and we all have media databases. It's laziness versus strategic.

Here's a fun little hint for PR people pitching me: I write on PR. That's about it. I rarely care about P2P music networks, or sunglasses, or social networks. I do care about how they are changing PR, and what is being done that is so different. But, rarely the products themselves.

Now, Anderson's post comes after Marshall Kirkpatrick tried to school PR people on the good, the bad and the ugly. Even in the comments, though, people missed the point on PR and transparency and tried to hide. It's not right - sorry for getting on my high horse.

The fact is that education is missing. Now, there are professors and classes that are trying to get it right. Look at Auburn and Robert French. Look at UGA with Karen Russell and Kaye Sweetser. I spent time today with Kaye's undergrads, answering questions. Why? Because it's about education and helping the next generation of students. I love my little Tigers that I have had the benefit of working with at Auburn, and have worked and helped out a bunch of other college students. Do I get anything out of this - yes, I keep my finger on the pulse of campuses, so I can put together college campaigns, but I also get to balance out some karma (the second if probably more important for me). And, yes, there is value for my company as the students learn about what I am doing, and give me feedback that is very helpful for me and the company.

And, well, it's about relationships. I take these seriously, and I got burnt once because I was promised information that was not delivered. The "lead the horse to water" mindset in PR is not going to work anymore. You cannot burn your relationships because a client does not deliver in a media briefing - it hurts the client, and ruins the relationship. And, at the end of the day, that's what is left for a PR person: good, working relationships. These people don't have those anymore with Chris Anderson.

So, here's my thought - here's my education presentation. I have been updating it and fine-tuning it for the past three years, since I began presenting to companies:

For another take, from a beloved blogger, read Ryan Block's take on it. He suffers a lot - I'm sure - but he still knows that it's a two-way street for bloggers and reporters and PR people.

Other takes from the PR blogosphere:
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