Listen to me: *This* blog will change the face of PR

Well, it probably won’t.

More’s the pity :-)

So is it just me, or are you tired of the digerati claiming that every shiny new web page will change the world as we know it?

Are you bored yet?

Personally speaking, I’m not sure Steve Rubel is helping his non-digerati credibility rating* with headlines like:

“Friendfeed will Change Journalism, PR and Marketing”

This line may sum it up:


The reason is Friendfeed. I have become hopelessly addicted to the site. I am sharing a lot of links there that I don’t pump into or Twitter, so I recommend picking up my aggregate lifestream feed here. However, if you just want my blog posts, no worries, that feed continues to syndicate.


I’m not an expert, but is it a good idea to take advice on something from an addict?

Of course maybe Steve’s right but when I generally listen to all this hyperbole, I am reminded of a great saying:


“A broken clock is right twice a day”


I’m sure that if you post this stuff regularly you’re bound to hit pay dirt eventually.

What do I know, I thought RSS was going to “change the face of “ about six years ago… that’s when I gave up on the forecasting business.


Reader Warning:

*There is a chance that the “non-digerati credibility rating” will change the face of journalism, PR and marketing

Plain speaking, ethical, hip but mad as a badger…

You’re celebrating what?

I touched on this earlier in the week but we really need to start providing some perspective when talking about the impact of <insert online buzz word here> on communication.  There are still a couple of people who shower, dress, go out of the house and listen to the radio.

This is all about balance, let’s not lose perspective. 

My job involves online communication or conversation or whatever you want to call it, but traditional communication still rules the roost (in my little world).

In the same way, PR people are often accused of using business speak rather than using plain simple English. [Hence the creation of tools such as  Bullfighter]

I don’t mean to be rude but to me this is an example that brings both strands together rather nicely… and not necessarily in a good way.


Fascinating to see the ways in which the idea of community is taking shape these days: business communities, where customers come together to interact with companies and brands; communities of giving, communities of technologists, and of everyday people who are passionately interested in anything from epic literature to even their credit scores.


Now stop me here if I’ve missed something.  But is this post just about what in the dark ages before 1995 we old people called a “party”?

Haven’t communities been around since we climbed down from the trees?

As I said maybe it’s me.


What makes you think about ethics?

Kami Huyse wants your help pulling together some ideas on how to get communicators to think about ethical behaviour.


The in-crowd…

I don’t know why I found this amusing… but I did…

OK, OK, I know why I found it amusing.

From Gaping Void via Themenblog.


Approaching bloggers

Dustin Wax at Lifehack posts How to get a blogger to promote your product.


New PR podcast (to me)

The Publicity Show… Lee Kantor and Elizabeth Gordon interview PR and media practitioners. (I realise that everyone probably already knows about it, but I didn’t and it’s my blog :-) )


“Mad as Badgers”…. well it is Friday….

Via Colin McKay



Sorry, tell me again, why does PR have a poor image?

Now gentle reader(s), this blog has, since 2002, been strictly operated under the auspices of the “greenhouse code”.

You won’t (or very rarely and probably due to me being in a grumpy mood) find knee jerk reactions to the silliness one finds around our profession, but today I happened upon two items that perfectly illustrate the issues you and I face in presenting a credible and professional face to the world.


#1 – The Captain Lawrence “I am just going outside and may be some time’ Oates Award

From Mark Ragan

News of the snafu concerning Mark Penn, the worldwide chief executive of Burson-Marsteller

Mark sums it up very nicely:

In an interview with the British newspaper The Guardian, Penn dusted off one of my favorite escape clauses.

"With the benefit of hindsight," he said of his work for Burson-Marsteller. "I would have done things differently."

What does this really mean? How could Penn have not known what was in store for him? Did he really think that Clinton could tolerate her top strategist contradicting a very visible campaign pledge?

What he really meant to say is, "if I had known I would be nailed, I wouldn’t have done it."


Here’s the interview from the Guardian.


#2 – Excuse me? – Finalist in “The world’s worst ever PR pitch” competition

From Mr. Dugan’s weekend assignment, The Bad Pitch Blog

This is a Twitter-esque bad pitch.  I am printing it in its entirety:

SUBJECT: Mailing Services are a hot trend for printers

BODY Hello!
Could you run this in your publication.


Oh Jebus. And the pièce de résistance par deux?

She then attached the press release as a PDF document and cc’d the e-mail addresses of ninety media outlets.


Lads and Ladies, seriously, next time you’re getting on your high horse about the unfair treatment our profession receives… remember… there are reasons for it.

Now excuse me while I get back into the warm yet comfortable greenhouse.

Summer Courses….

I’m really not sure why this was sent to me, but I have decided to share the information in case anyone finds it useful….

Summer Classes for Men



REGISTRATION MUST BE COMPLETED by Friday, August 17th 2008


Class 1 How To Fill Up The Ice Cube Trays–Step by Step, with Slide Presentation.

Meets 4 weeks, Monday and Wednesday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM.

Class 2 The Toilet Paper Roll–Does It Change Itself? – Round Table Discussion.

Meets 2 weeks, Saturday 12:00 for 2 hours.

Class 3 Is It Possible To Urinate Using The Technique Of Lifting The Seat and Avoiding The Floor, Walls and Nearby Bathtub?–Group Practice.

Meets 4 weeks, Saturday 10:00 PM for 2 hours.

Class 4 Fundamental Differences Between The Laundry Hamper and The Floor–Pictures and Explanatory Graphics.

Meets Saturdays at 2:00 PM for 3 weeks.

Class 5 Dinner Dishes–Can They Levitate and Fly Into The Kitchen Sink? Examples on Video.

Meets 4 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM Class

6 Loss Of Identity–Losing The Remote To Your Significant Other. Help Line Support and Support Groups.

Meets 4 Weeks, Friday and Sunday 7:00 PM

Class 7 Learning How To Find Things–Starting With Looking In The Right Places And Not Turning The House Upside Down While Screaming.

Open Forum Monday at 8:00 PM, 2 hours.

Class 8 Health Watch–Bringing Her Flowers Is Not Harmful To Your Health. Graphics and Audio Tapes.

Three nights; Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7:00 PM for 2 hours.

Class 9 Real Men Ask For Directions When Lost–Real Life Testimonials.

Tuesdays at 6:00 PM Location to be determined

Class 10 Is It Genetically Impossible To Sit Quietly While She Parallel Parks?

Driving Simulations. 4 weeks, Saturday’s noon, 2 hours.

Class 11 Learning to Live–Basic Differences Between Mother and Wife.

Online Classes and role-playing Tuesdays at 7:00 PM, location to be determined

Class 12 How to be the Ideal Shopping Companion

Relaxation Exercises, Meditation and Breathing Techniques.Meets 4 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM.

Class 13 How to Fight Cerebral Atrophy–Remembering Birthdays, Anniversaries and Other Important Dates and Calling When You’re Going To Be Late.

Cerebral Shock Therapy Sessions and Full Lobotomies Offered. Three nights; Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7:00 PM for 2 hours.

Class 14 The Stove/Oven–What It Is and How It Is Used.

Live Demonstration. Tuesdays at 6:00 PM, location to be determined.


Upon completion of any of the above courses, diplomas will be issued to the survivors.

PR is about more than “highly trusted conversational participants”

Todd Defren has taken a run at a SWOT analysis for the PR Industry.

It’s well written and whilst (as usual) I agree with the vast majority of Todd’s content, one thing kept recurring to me. 

This isn’t a SWOT of Public Relations, this is an analysis of online media relations or a sub-set of Public Relations.

Under “Weakness”, Todd writes:

I’ve been talking about this forever, but the single biggest weakness of PR in the Social Media age is related to scale.  As I noted back in June 2006, “[How can] PR practitioners possibly find the time & energy to create, monitor and nurture the hundreds of relationships that might (or might not) aid their clients?”

I agree, time is a massive issue for everyone, PR people included.

But it’s also a big issue for our audience.

We’re making the assumption that (all) our audiences will be reading 300 online sites, or that our targets (I just put that in to annoy the digeratti! :-) ) or should I say our “highly trusted conversational participants” will all be reading hundreds of different sites, channels whatever.

That’s not confirmed at this point.

The continuing deluge of blogs, sites, forums, networks, tools (Twitter, Jaiku, Plurk) is mind bending.

However, how many will stand the test of time? Just because it’s hot today, doesn’t mean it’s here to stay [there’s definitely another post on the value of tactical, transient social media relations..]

How fast is the audience moving online?

How influential is the online audience outside some well worn niches?

Personally I think the vast majority of our PR discussion online is too thin.

The PUBLIC RELATIONS environment is far more interesting, diverse and broad than just social media.

Social media is important, but before we really understand the challenges we probably need to see how these new tools and channels are adopted, by whom and for how long.

Time is definitely an issue, scale will be a greater challenge moving forward, I’m in agreement on that.

But PR = just social media relations?

Nope, I don’t buy that one…. yet.

I think as people who are specialists in helping individuals and organisations to communicate most effectively using the best channels and tools, we have a professional duty to continue to focus on the entire breadth of communications and not solely follow the moth-like orbit around the new new thing.

Do you agree? Or am I an outdated luddite?

PR people lying? No way…

You’ve probably seen the storm that erupted following CBS News, legal analyst, Andrew Cohen’s broadside at Public Relations (and his follow up here) following the “revelations” from Scott McClellan’s new book.

This about summarises it:


Show me a PR person who is "accurate" and "truthful," and I’ll show you a PR person who is unemployed.



There’s been a lot of response (funnily enough) ranging from Frank’s outrage to Kami’s analysis and Shel’s commentary.

PR has always (ironically) had a perception issue.

This is driven by a large number of factors including:

  • The breadth of the industry from cosmetics, to agriculture, politics, fast moving consumer goods and technology
  • The lack of general understanding about public relations
  • The high profile issues with the profession are covered broadly in the media
  • There are low barriers to entry into the profession

This obviously isn’t an exhaustive list….

While reading the commentary, I like Shel’s approach:

One method is already underway—it’s for professionals like Todd Defren, Brian Solis, Phil Gomes, Mike Manuel, Niall Cook and hundreds of others to talk about their client work candidly and openly on their blogs. (There’s been a fair amount of discussion lately about whether PR people should shine a light on their own efforts, since it has traditionally been viewed as inappropriate. But the world has changed and social media have made it more acceptable to write about the work you’ve done on a client’s behalf—with that client’s permission, of course.) It would also be great if someone started a clearinghouse site or blog that aggregated cases of PR conducted in a way that would make Cohen and his ilk rethink their assumptions.

We need to be realistic. 

Just like real-estate, law, medicine and every other profession, PR will suffer from a tiny percentage of miscreants who do not respect ethics or good practice. 

But it’s very important that the majority focus on showcasing how we work, how we help individuals, organisations etc to communicate effectively with their audiences.

It always makes me smile when I hear PR’s critics going on like we’re all in dark car parks brandishing brown paper bags stuffed with dollar bills.

Sorry to disappoint, but my professional life is far more mundane than that!

When I left college there were two things I never wanted anything to do with: 1) PR and 2) Computers.

I’ve spent the last 17 years working with both every single day.

My perception of PR (think: Absolutely Fabulous) was wrong. It’s a fantastic profession, with great people, who do great work.

Poor practitioners are a reality, the trick is to focus on helping people to understand what we do and why it’s important.


Other viewpoints: