PR often has an unfairly bad reputation. On the one hand you have the ‘Sex and the City‘ view of PR as one big party with lots of high heels, hair flicking and alcohol. On the other you have the ‘Thank You For Smoking‘ view of immoral ‘spinsters’ willing to sell their souls to sell that product. Somewhere in the ethical, hard working, high ground, is the average PR professional. However every now and then a PR person slips up and risks dragging other responsible PR people down with them!
PR people who want to remain competitive and effective have, in recent years, put as much time and effort into maintaining relationships with clients and the traditional media, as they have learning about the so-called ‘new media’ tools and reaching out to influencers online.
However his morning I read an article on Mom Blog Magazine (not my daily reading, so I have to tip my hat to Danny Brown for turning me on to it) entitled Why PR People Get Paid and You Don’t which made me realise that some people still just ‘don’t get it’.
“Sarah” who works “at an actual PR firm” is writing about the blogger-PR relationship and the issue of paying bloggers to write about a product/service. Sarah attempts to give bloggers a ‘reality check’ and tells them they “don’t deserve anything“.
Well because…”There are hundreds more bloggers out there that are willing to take a cold, hard look at what they are producing now and how they can improve in the future.”
And, painting a beautiful picture of PR as a career, she says…
“You don’t promise to say nice things about the company. The PR person does. They have to sell a product no matter what that product is, and they sell it with a smile even if it kicks puppies and makes babies cry.”
Personally speaking, making babies cry is what gets me out of bed in the morning!
For someone who presumably makes her living by communicating well with others, Sarah does a piss-poor job of getting her point across here. She seems oblivious to the fact that whether you’re dealing with a blogger who has 10 readers, a fledgling freelance journalist or the editor of a national paper, all should be treated with equal respect.
The power of a good blog lies in the fact that the blogger, as Sarah puts it, doesn’t have to ‘say nice things about the company’…so when they do their community takes notice. Today’s small blog could be tomorrow’s Huffington Post and anyone with the power to disseminate positive or negative comments about your clients should be someone with whom you try to build a good working relationship.
Sarah may have actually been trying to be funny in this post and relay tips on how bloggers can improve their chances of getting paid by PR agencies if they improve their content and blog design. However all of that was lost through the confrontational and condescending tone.
That’s one PR professional needs to draw upon spin of Tazmanian Devil proportions to get out of the hole she’s dug for herself. Fingers crossed she doesn’t have to call a blogger today.