Setting the record straight since there seems to be a lot wrong-headed discussion going on right now:
- Not all public relations pitching is spam. Yes, there’s a lot of bad pitching going on out there, but that’s been happening since time in memoriam and is not new to “blogger relations.”
- If the top bloggers in technology or any other vertical are getting a lot of pitches in their inbox, it’s because of a fundamental failure by people in a position to lead to educate clients that the Top 10 Blogs in any particular industry are not necessarily the right 10 for their story.
- Yeah, it’s great to stumble upon a story rather than get pitched it. Case in point my write-up about a seemingly new ad unit on YouTube that was being used for the Pineapple Express trailer. But to close your ears to PR pitches means cutting yourself off to a valuable source of interesting ideas.
- If there’s a failing in the blog world it’s the “If I can’t be first I won’t even write about it” mentality. Saying that pretty much tells me you’re not actually interested in a conversation about new technologies, movies or whatever your topic of choice is but are solely about feeling important.
- Giving up control does not mean abandoning PR tactics. It just means that instead of shoving messaging down your throat and then going postal if the blogger does not comply, PR people would be well-advised to offer brief, casual introductions to something the writer hopefully will think is cool without a lot of pressure.
- You’re confusing “thrill of the chase” with “random happenstance.” One is a defined process (you have to start running and know what you’re chasing), the other is the equivalent of tripping over a sidewalk brick.
Is PR obsolete? Not by a long shot. Do a lot of people do it badly? You bet. Same can be said about blogging, home construction and every other industry. There are lots of good people in the agency world that are doing it right, though, and are trying to educate their co-workers on best practices, pulling their heads out of their own hinders long enough to take a look at the big picture and give advice accordingly.
My recommendations? 1) Don’t judge an entire agency by the mis-guided opinions of one person, no matter how high their profile. 2) You know that old adage about not buying from a skinny baker? Likewise, don’t trust PR advice from someone who so clearly disdains the profession.
Is Google a Media Company? – No, but it allows all of its users to become media companies through self-publishing, search and a variety of other tools, which is actually the more powerful role.
All of Us, Arbiter of News – Exactly my point. People aren’t going to be told where and when they can publish stuff since since corporate interests often run directly counter to the interests of the populace.
TV Networks Rewrite the Definition of a News Bureau – If you can’t beat people who can do media faster and cheaper than you you might as well join them.
21st Century Reporting – Forget news gathering. The most important usage of these new tools and techniques is in relationship building with those individualistic media. If I know you personally I’m more likely to link to you.
Warner Bros. says they’re re-focusing on content as a business driver, hopefully getting the company back on track after too long being told they need to be something else.
Scott Kirsner rightly points out, though, that there is a lack of attention being paid (at least in the article) to new ways of creating Internet-specific content. While I think Scott has a good perspective, I also think that making sure the core house is in order and running efficiently is the first priority. Plus, it’s likely not the high-level execs that are the focus of this story that will be driving such experimentation but a young punk who just doesn’t understand why things are the way they are and forces everyone to question previously held notions. An open environment has to exist for that person to prosper but they’re the ones that will force fundamental change.
AdFreak has the heads-up on a new book chronicling the artwork of the first years of Wacky Packages. These were still around when I was a kid and I would usually get a pack either as a gift from one of my grandparents or with my own money when I rode my bike (By myself! Without a helmet!) to the White Hen down the road from my house. So obviously I have a strong place in my heart for these demented pieces of pop-culture flotsam.
The New York Observer’s hand-wringing over the disappearance of so many news publications in New Jersey completely overlooks sites like Baristanet and others in the state – sites that have analogs in every other state in the union. These sites cover local news, right down to specific communities, in a much more “on the ground” fashion than newspapers and TV stations ever could because that’s where their citizen stringers are. They’re also unencumbered by considerations like the cost of newsprint or the ever-present “what’s popular?” thinking that has to go into deciding what makes the cut for a 1/2 hour newscast.
I’m the first person to shed a tear when a news outlet goes under, largely because I think it’s a loss to the overall conversation and because those news outlets bring with them resources even the best citizen-run site can’t match. But history is filled with examples of industries where faster, more agile competitors squeezed out the more lumbering established players and we shouldn’t act like this is so very unique for the media industry.