You Know What Bloggers? I'm Tired of Being the Bad Guy.

aka why you should be nice to publicists.

A lot of famous social media people are kicking up dirt over PR. They say PR is dead, PR people don’t know what they’re talking about, PR people are idiots and snake oil salesmen. And, for the most part, I understand and don’t say anything.

But you know what? I’m so very tired of being the bad guy.

Publicists have the social stigma tantamount to lawyers and used car salesmen. But you know what? We’re PEOPLE. I have a modest income, I pay my taxes, I laugh and cry just like everyone else, and I have good days and bad days. I have to work in an office environment, I have to justify myself to clients and bosses and people like you. You know what else? My reputation is on the line every single time I send out an email. It’s do or die. It’s death or life. And that’s just sending out emails. This doesn’t include phone calls and personal meetings or anything else. Just email.

For a long time the world only had a slight idea of PR’s existence. Their day to day interactions were regulated to newspaper, magazine, radio personalities. We were the people that gave stories to the media and the media decided what to do with them. The media could ignore the stories, they could use the stories, or they could request more information.

Then enter the internet. And, don’t get me wrong, I love it. Everyone has a voice. Everyone has power to make change. Everyone has an opinion, a view, or a story to tell. Which is great. The fact that PR people are talking to you means that your voice does matter.

To be 100% honest, there are some people in our industry who are sleazy. But isn’t that true of EVERY profession out there? Why are we the bad guys? There are some people who are just learning. There are some people who are trying, trying really, really hard to be a good guy (or gal). Would you really be bashing all plumbers because your guy put in the wrong pipe?

We provide a service for our clients that is necessary. Most of our clients don’t have the time or energy to be talking to all of you, learn all of your names and what you like to talk about, decide where to break their news and with whom, and enter into the social media sphere. Even if they do, they’re at a lost to why they’re there. So they hire us, and we do that for them. We’re the stylists to their marketing arm. We’ve been in the biz, we’ve talked to media before, we tell them what not to wear and what to wear. Are we perfect? No, but neither are you. I’ve read some of your blogs, you’ve made mistakes too. We all have.

We’re all human beings.

Bloggers have power, but that power can be used for good or evil. Just as any other power. Take a moment and really think about what you’re doing when you black list a PR agency, or when you complain on Twitter or when you push a publicist around in an email. Bloggers can be as sleazy as the PR professionals they like to bash.

So, it’s fashionable to declare PR dead. And yes, you might think it’s annoying to have 100 pitches in your inbox which you could just delete if you’re not interested. And yes, you may make a lot of noise by bashing my profession. But remember, I’m just another person trying to work and support myself. And if you think it’s fun to destroy my work, I’m actually really sorry for you.

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  1. Posted March 16, 2009 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Kudos for countering the “PR is dead” mantra. PR certainly isn’t dead but it is transforming. People confuse PR with publicity and they are not the same. True PR is and should be transparent which is why the transition to more engagement and networking methods makes so much sense.

  2. Melissa A. Bartell
    Posted March 16, 2009 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    Calling PR dead is like saying professional journalism is dead. It isn’t; they aren’t. Are both professions evolving? Sure, as all things must in order to survive.

    On the personal side, I’m more of a memoir-ist than a real blogger. I don’t blog in the traditional sense. But I have seen people say things like, “If you put ads on your blog, you lose all credibility.” (As if any of us had credibility before? It’s all just opinion.

    On the professional side though, I’m also not a blogger. We’re a magazine, and just like any other magazine in print or online, we survive by the grace of publicists who give us products to try, or help fill our pages with interesting people. Are they pushing THEIR people or products? Of course, but who isn’t?

    Social media’s great if you want a cacaphony of indecipherable noise. If you want a real story, with a real person to interview, or someone to sort through the noise for you, and make sure you present yourself in the best way possible, you need a publicist.

    Sorry this is disjointed…Long day.

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