Setting the PR record straight
Setting the PR record straight
Ok, a heads up on this blog; it isn’t a rant and at the same time I haven’t pulled my punches. There are a few things that I do want to get off my chest and share with the community of experts and communicators I work with. It’s not a Jerry McGuire moment where I have an attack of conscience and it isn’t a Donald Trump style attack on Twitter!
I believe there’s been the impression from some in the industry that we’re working against the PR industry, not in harmony with it. To set the record straight, Media Stable is not the enemy of good PR firms. We work with many of the best and they appreciate and compliment what we do. We are, however, the enemy of the lazy and incompetent PRs – the ones who distribute content churned out with no real thought or strategy behind it. Media Stable actively works with the most forward thinking and successful firms. Ultimately we are adding value to them, their client and the media.
At Media Stable we not only engage experts looking to have an influence in the media but also actively engage with media, delivering what they need, when they need it. It is a mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship we have created. Media needs quality yarns and stories from experts at the same time that experts and businesses are looking to get traction with the media. Plus, when the media need a particular expert they come to us for names and contacts. This relationship and understanding of the requirements of a newsroom and a journalist, is paramount to the success of the content, and the expert getting their message across.
So why and how do so many communications and PR firms get this so wrong? I will answer this in short. The reason PR and media businesses fail is because they have a mixture of the following issues in the preparation and execution of their content and pitches; No relationship with their target media; little, to no accountability; content is off message and poorly targeted; no story; no relevance; no timeliness to the story; no human element; no hook or angle…I could go on. More often than not, it is just content put together purely with the client in mind and not the audience of the target media. Having said all of the above, I love PR and want to set that straight. I am a PR practitioner, I am passionate about my industry and it upsets me to no end to see that client relationship abused.
Why do so many agencies and practitioners take their clients’ money with no responsibility or at least a sense of accountability? I truly believe that accountability and measurement has been the greatest development in the PR industry in recent times. There is a strong sense of obligation from those that take this responsibility seriously to make sure their client meets objectives and goals.
In the same way that the world has woken up to the vanity metrics of followers, likes and connections via social media, the PR industry and their clients are recognising that accountability and measurement. While not a vanity measure, it does reflect the impact their content has had with their target audience. A share, a connection, an inquiry or “a like” is a form of engagement that we are looking for, but it isn’t everything. The reality is that we need to be able to see that the media has played a role in achieving the communication goals of the client. Social media noise is loud and saturated, but who is really listening?
I hope that this helps someone in their decision making process when assigning a communications professional to their brand. It’s tricky but never has it been more transparent between the good communicators and the poor ones. If you need help choosing a PR company, we’d be happy to recommend some reliable, professional and forward-thinking operators who put your objectives first.
I always say this to anyone looking to make an impact with media. “The best way, is to do it differently. Be a subject matter expert, be an influencer, a voice, and be an opinion. Be you!”
Nicholas Hayes is the Managing Director of Media Stable.