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A place to discuss terrible public relations and marketing.

Tuesday

10

February 2015

"PR Isn't Journalism" And Other Pieces Of Obvious Wisdom

by Conrad Updog

Perhaps the single biggest challenge PR agencies face is explaining to their clients why they should continue being paid for whatever the fuck it is they are doing.

Given how much time PR folks spend doddering about asking journalists to attend various webinars, you can imagine that this is no easy task.

Enter EBN, "the premier online community for global supply chain professionals," which last week published a pretty silly op-ed about what public relations is.

Of course, instead of simply listing the shit he does all day, the author instead chose to write a rather dense treatise entitled "What High Tech PR Is Not."

Perhaps the highlight was the author's assertion that PR does not involve spin, as seen below:
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Shoutout to the literally zero tech PR pros who pitch journalists with 100% honest assessments of the startups they represent. "Yeah, it's a social platform with 3 million users but only 100,000 of them log in once a month. Make sure you get that last detail into the lede, please!"

Also, if the author doesn't believe public relations is spin, why is he referring to stories as "PR content" rather than a news article that his client provided information or opinion for? Spin is THE ENTIRE POINT of public relations. If companies didn't need someone to arrange facts in a way that made them look better than they otherwise would, the author would have to find something else to do for a living.

P.S. The exact definition of crisis PR is "putting a pretty face on a mess."

Another #insight in the piece is that you need to plan a PR campaign before you start pitching people to get your impressions. Pretty next-level shit, if you ask me.
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I do, however, appreciate that he takes the time to point out that "just doing some PR" will not by itself lead to product sales.

This brings us to the most valuable take: PR is not journalism.
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Like some tech bro who has had an agency on retainer for two years is going to read this and slap his forehead like, "Fuck, I thought I was paying a newspaper this whole time!"

The sage wisdom continues:
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Lol at the idea that the term "brand journalism" came about for any other reasons than to fool consumers into trusting native advertising. Believe me, the people who invented that term knew full well that what they were doing was not journalism.

Also, if there is anything you get out of reading this blog, let it be this: Marketing is not honorable work. Neither is public relations. There's nothing inherently wrong with it, but let's not pretend it is doing anybody any good.

Thank you for your time, and please remember to send your shitty pitches to conradupdog@gmail.com.

Conrad Updog

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