“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”
The first thing people do when they’re in hot water? Call a lawyer. When starting an ambitious new venture? Call a lawyer.
Calling a PR pro — whether it’s “a guy I know who knows someone at the newspaper” or a full-fledged agency — comes a close 2nd. In hot water? Call a lawyer, then call someone who can effectively tell your-side-of-the-story to the media. Starting an ambitious new venture? Call someone who can help you proclaim it to the media.
Of course, that’s not all that PR people do; it’s just what most folks THINK we do. Just as there are all kinds of lawyers, there are many sub-disciplines to the PR industry. PR is actually not about spamming reporters.
So why do PR pros get so ruffled when someone (especially someone like a Scoble, a Jaffe, an Owyang or a Calacanis) says “PR is dead?” Saying something negative about PR on Twitter, in a blog post or in a magazine article and you are guaranteed to get a high-volume, angst-filled response from practitioners.
Here’s my take: there are bad PR people just as there are bad lawyers. Bad lawyers don’t care if you think they are evil. Bad PR people probably don’t even realize that they suck, because they’re not bothering to listen for negative feedback in the first place.
Both of these “bad pros” are blithely inept; they give no thought at all to the destruction they wreak on the reputations of their fellow practitioners.
Which means if you’re one of those people who get upset when influencers suggest that PR sucks, it probably means you care about your work; it probably means you’re doing good for your clients; it probably means that your work can stand as a bulwark against the slings and arrows of those peevish influencers.
It probably means you shouldn’t get so worked up over all the negativity. Do what good lawyers do: get back to doing some good.
Posted on: March 26, 2009 at 9:16 am By Todd Defren