PR Is Only As Good As People In It
Last week, we presented a link that questioned the future of public relations. Now that you’ve had a chance to read through it, we thought it would be a good idea to talk about what the article is actually telling us.
I anticipated the author of the article was going to give me something insightful about what really makes PR people lack success as an industry. I didn’t get that. Rather, he focused on the media relations aspect of what causes PR people to develop a bad reputation. The great thing is, I am more qualified than most to speak to this subject given that I have nearly a decade of proven experience working as an award-winning media member and as a PR professional.
First of all, the article talked about the press release being well known as a negative for the PR industry. Not in the real world. But I do agree that if your only distribution methods are using PR Newswire or purchasing mass media distribution lists, then you are setting your press releases up for failure.
In the world of Jupiter Promotions, we don’t use PR Newswire because it isn’t effective for our clients. Mass media distribution lists are a bad idea for the same reason the author mentioned – they are never updated quickly enough and can’t be considered reliable.
What we do is simple. We create our own media distribution lists. And then we routinely go through and update it. We follow the people on our distribution lists on social media so we can at least have a heads-up on position or job changes. And it has proven to be effective.
Another method we use is to not just distribute our press releases to a mass grouping of media members, but to target specific media members. If one of the clients is in an industry that a specific media member also has a history of liking, we want to make sure that media member gets the press release. For example, when we distributed the announcement of the 100th anniversary of the OKC Auto Show this year, we made sure to include those media members who were car enthusiasts. It definitely paid off.
Contrary to the article, the world of PR isn’t failing. The PR industry is growing and that is part of the problem. Employers and clients realize they have a growing pool of people to choose from and they have more options when making those choices. Do they choose the more attractive female straight out of college or the experienced male? Do they choose the aggressive person who knows what they are doing or the eager person who is open to doing whatever they are asked? There are plenty of people on all sides of it, and the PR pool is being diluted negatively because of those choices. Having been on both sides of it, I see it getting worse.
Being a PR professional has its challenges. We are experts who are constantly having to explain our expertise. We deal with various levels of crisis communications even when we shouldn’t have to. We seek the attention of journalists who are constantly being referred to as “fake news” writers and who are competing with bloggers and journalist-wannabes on a daily basis. And we have to compete with PR amateurs who get jobs they aren’t qualified for because they are willing to work for dirt cheap. Take all of this and the PR industry is definitely facing some challenges. But in the end, people like myself and companies like Jupiter Promotions will continue to define PR the right way and the world will be a better place because of it.