Links @ The Current State & Future of Public Relations

IStock_000003013231XSmallI’m not a big fan of the “Links for the Week”-type posts.  I like it when other bloggers do it, mind you – these links often uncover some great stuff that would have remained undiscovered.  I don’t do it for this blog, though, cuz I know I wouldn’t be consistent about it.   

And that’s all just a lame set-up for a “Links You Should Read” post.  In their way, each post touches on the current state of PR.

Here’s one from Brian Oberkirch of Like It Matters.  In this post, Brian plays the contrarian regarding one of the central tenets of the Cluetrain Manifesto, that, “There is no market for messages.”

When Social Media types hear that phrase, they tend to nod sagaciously.  Certainly it is true that no one’s headed to the mall with “Buy some messages” on their shopping list.  Certainly it is true that “deeds” are more powerful than “words” … “Messaging” means nothing if the company behind the brand can’t back up its claims or effectively participate with its customers.

But as Brian points out, human beings are actually voracious consumers of messages.

“…enjoy the irony that the global reproduction of phrases like ‘markets are conversations,’ ‘there is no demand for messages’ etc. proves the healthy demand for messages.  When it comes to relevant, elevating messages, we can’t get enough.  See also telenovelas, myth, jokes, ritual & so on…” 

As a PR guy – a weaver of words – I can’t help but agree.  Empty words are meaningless but messages with the heft of truth are both powerful & eagerly consumed. 

One of the primary roles of the PR pro, nowadays, is not “creator of bullshit” but rather “watchguard against bullshit.”  Because we need to “sell” our clients’ messages on the frontlines, we are acutely aware that B.S. is no longer marketable.  It’s up to us to make our clients aware of this new reality.

…Moving on to the next Link You Should Read:

One of my favorite people in the blogopshere is Constantin Basturea.  Constantin is a selfless benefactor of the PR blogosphere.  Case in point: he is set to organize his third Global PR Blog Week.  And you can help.

…Three more Links before you go:

The first two posts are by competitors (which peeves me a li’l, dang it).  Both are on the subject of the so-called “Death of PR.”

This post by Kyle Flaherty issues the challenge:  “(Viability will not come from PR firms’) ability to pitch media (traditional, blogger, vlogger or otherwise), anyone can do that internally and on the cheap. (Viability will come from the) ability to actually help create the tent to hold the community, the content to sustain the community and the brains to maintain the conversation.”

This post by Richard Edelman is certainly related to Kyle’s post, and worth reading if only for this single line: “PR should stand for Public Relationships, a transparent effort to advocate our client’s position, supported by depth of content, while offering an open place for dialogue and comment.”  That sums up the whole thing.

Last but not least, a great post by one of SHIFT’s own, Chris Apollo Lynn.  In this post at his SocialTNT blog, Chris interviews Forrester’s Charlene Li.  Great stuff.  And Chris also touches on the points rasied by Richard and Kyle: “As PR – read ‘Public Relations’ not ‘Press Relations’ – it’s often important to remind our clients that slowly seeding discussion is often about raising awareness of the product, service or company.”

See?  This is another reason I can’t handle the “Links for the Week” idea.  I can’t help but turn it into a full-fledged blog post! 

Posted on: October 12, 2007 at 12:01 pm By Todd Defren
3 Responses to “Links @ The Current State & Future of Public Relations”


  • Dan Schawbel says:

    Instead of links, you are telling a story, which is more interesting.

  • Kami Huyse says:

    Thanks for the links with context. I am lazy, I just use delicious and send it to my feed without posting it on my blog. Maybe I should start posting it online to give folks some link love.

  • I am a totally devoted Cluetrain Triumphalist.

    What Doc and the gang meant was there is no desire for advertising messages, especially the “we” and “our” corporate fluff, completely divorced from the needs of the audience.

    We hate TV commercials and other intrusive messaging, even when some are funny or informative, they are still invasive and continuity killers.

    We hate telemarketing messages. We hate commercial email and blog comment spam.

    We are not actively seeking sales hype.

    But we do seek and appreciate altruism, help, genuine user reviews, advice, corporate expertise, peer recommendations, insights, tips, how-tos that are relevant to our needs and interests.

    Take “we” and “our products” out of your copy and you’ll have gone a long way to connecting with audience who longs for “you” and “your needs” type copy.

    The New Social Media Marketing, and all online PR, must be 80% education/infotainment and only 20% (or less) sales and promotion talk.


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