Are you qualified to comment? Do you care? Then don’t expect me to.

[Moderate rant warning]

I never cease to be amazed by the number of people who feel fully qualified to offer sweeping – nay visionary – guidance and commentary on an industry or profession with limited or often no knowledge. 

Well, when I say they have limited knowledge, I mean to say that they have about as much knowledge about PR, as I have about the shipping business (after receiving a package).

PR is one of the businesses that most often enjoys this advice. It’s a magnet for these pompous posting ignoramuses.  

Too often these people equate the entire business with pure media relations.  Of course media relations remains incredibly important, but it’s just one element of our work.

By the way just in case you are concerned that you won’t be able to spot these “experts” don’t worry it’s pretty easy they normally say: “PR is dead (or dying)”.

That’s the giveaway.

Todd Defren responds to the latest installment.

I won’t link directly to the author as I have tired of doing so. By all means have a read of it but actively question it.  Don’t tell anyone, but having a PR strategy that is based on the fact that “stories spread on their own without a lot of pushing” probably won’t set you up for success.

In the meantime here are some more worthy links:

6 thoughts on “Are you qualified to comment? Do you care? Then don’t expect me to.

  1. I always wonder why people seem to think public relations is dead or dying. Isn’t PR considered to be more credible than any other communications tool such as advertising?

  2. Hi Amanda,

    I agree with you, I think that PR continues to be important, if not more important. There are two probable reasons for the recurring theme. Firstly people are driving their own agenda and secondly a lot of people don’t really understand what PR is about.

    It’s been a consistent theme online for the past five years, it hasn’t happened… but that doesn’t stop anyone :-)


  3. Hi Tom,

    I’m a senior PR student at West Virginia University. At the beginning of the year we were to choose a PR blog to follow throughout the year, and I choose your blog. I’ve been really intrigued with all your insight. I was wondering if I could pick your brain about your thoughts for all young people coming into the PR industry. With this economy, do you think it’ll be one of the hardest years to land a great job?


  4. Hi Tom,

    Thanks for your great post. I have to admit I wrote a post on my blog a while back with the headline “Will Social Media Kill Traditional Public Relations?” It was about a survey showing PR shifting to social media. I totally agree with this post and your Dec. 1, 2010, post that a lot of social media “experts” are promoting it as a magic bullet and clearly have no background in communications or marketing theory. Some aren’t even college graduates, let alone communications or marketing grads, etc. On the other hand, social media is definitely a game changer. Journalists no longer serving as news gatekeepers, small organizations or critics being able to garner global coverage via YouTube, etc. is fundamentally changing the way you get your message out and protect, build, and advertise a brand. This holds true whether you have jumped to the “dark side” or just stuck your toe in via government or nonprofit work!

    Thanks again,

  5. Hi Monica,

    Thanks for your comment. I agree social media absolutely brings new approaches and perspectives to PR and marketing, but in itself it doesn’t signal the ‘death’ of either. I believe we should consider it as a set of new tools and channels that often require new approaches, but the basics of great marketing and PR, remain.

    Of course, this is all conjecture, we’ll have to wait and see!


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