Why does everyone hate PR? Even PR people?

Today my twitching, flinching eye lands on no fewer than three items in my PR feed which slate PR people:

  • Public Relations Rogue laments that ‘far too many PR professionals are woefully ignorant of emerging techonology and trends that impact communication’
  • His posting is based on another one in the feed, by Dave McLure, in which he gives six reasons why PR doesn’t work if you’re a geek. Don’t worry though because FG put him right on each of those points, especially the one about ewespoons. 😉
  • Scatterbox by Steven Silvers talks about PR and the business of enthusiastic incompetence, boiling all PR’s woes down to one simple truth: ‘the client hires PR people who don’t know what they’re doing.’

And, in turn, his posting is based on Guy Kawasaki’s blog listing the top ten reasons PR doesn’t work. Of all these posts, Guy’s seems the most well-balanced. He’s a nice Guy.

What is going on here? Actually, I think I have a hunch. I think it’s a backhanded self-compliment. A lot of these people are saying “I’m totally on the ball and these other people aren’t. Look at them, aren’t they stupid. One of these days I’m going to be director. I’ve got a blog, you know.” The difficulty comes in assessing what they’re actually doing about it in their own companies. I really do hope they’re spearheading Web 2.0 initiatives or even training people off their own bat. I’m not saying they’re not: I just hope they are. I just hope that for every negative they’re pointing out, they’re endeavouring to introduce a positive.

In fact I’d say that’s true of a lot of blogging. It does generally tend to be a bit of a whinge, doesn’t it?

EDIT: And immediately after posting this I notice another one: Brian Solis, who seems to have picked up on the same wave of anti-PR, and offers brilliant advice for everyone. Bless you, Brian.

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4 thoughts on “Why does everyone hate PR? Even PR people?

  1. What’s going on is most people look to make it to 5 and collect pay check, and 80+% don’t even want to be in PR. How many old people do you see in PR firms. I’m 35 and virtually archaic by many standards in DC.

    There’s no pride, no care, no ethics. Then consider most of these people buy their own BS, and you are really screwed.

  2. I know what you mean about feeling old. I’m older than you and I feel like a grandfather in my company. So in one way I know what you mean: there are very few ‘greyhairs’ in PR and consequently a lack of good, solid experience.

    But as for the rest, well it’s still a bit of a whinge, isn’t it? I wouldn’t equate a lack of experience with ‘no pride, no care, no ethics.’

    What are you going to do about this? What are you doing about it, now, to change things?

  3. WOW. PR people don’t really hate their job or other PR people…they’re just too busy sucking the media’s &^%* to say how they really feel. When I call a reporter, 95% of the time they are rude and mean to me treating me like a salesman. EVERY PRSA meeting I go to it’s all about how to make better pitches…BUT, have you ever heard of journalists getting together asking how to better take PR pitches??? NO!!! That’s because they don’t care. They are ego driven flakes that want your ideas, but not your help. They have no journalistic standards anymore.

    Example: Why did we go to Iraq again? Well, you can blame G.W. Bush…but he had faulty intelligence he could say. Just like our senators and congressmen. But what about the media NOT asking any tough questions??

    There is no investigative journalism anymore and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told by editors/reporters “If your client hasn’t advertised in our publication, then they won’t be in our editorial section” WTF!! Ethical?? No. But PR people have to fight to make a living so we suck up to the media and hate on each other just to get the media’s respect.

    This isn’t high school kids, this is the real world. Have some guts and stand up for each other and don’t let journalists walk all over you! They NEED your pitches!!!!!!

  4. Fairly forthright opinions there Sarah – I like!

    It’s very interesting that you pick up on this post. It’s quite an old one – over two years in fact – and whereas the PR-bashing meme has subsided since, I’d say the first bullet point I make, about PR people being woefully behind the times, still rings true.

    I still get instances where people call me and say “We’ve set up a blog, what can we do with it” or “We want to do some Netvibes outreach” or “We want to do some Facebook stuff”. They’ve had at least three years to get the hang of all this, but they still don’t, on the whole, ‘get it’.

    Anyway, thanks for the comment. It’s been quiet around here lately.

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