A message for the Public Relations Firms

Forgive me, as this is not my normal topic, but something has been bugging me for a while, and it’s Public Relations Firms.

You may be an expert, want to give speeches, have written a book or just want to promote your own blog, so you hire a PR firm to help get your name out there. Good, excellent.

I write about how have a better career, solve problems with your managers/employees, find a job, hire the best person, or something really funny in the world of work. I do actually want to hear from you if you have a great idea.

What is not a great idea is not checking out how your PR firm operates. These things drive me nuts and I bet they drive other writers nuts as well.

1. I’m just another name on your list. There are a couple of PR firms that I get emails from every day (or almost every day). They always claim to have a great new book/idea/speaker. This is false. 90% of the stuff these people send me has no relationship to the topics I write about. (Helpful hint: Evil HR Ladies do not write about tricks to help with your accounting!) The result? I now delete these emails without even bothering to look at the subject line.

That’s right. I get so many from these firms that I’ve learned it’s not worth my time to evaluate if my readers would have an interest in them. So, if you’ve hired such a firm, I will never, ever hear about you from them.

2. Your public relations person does not respond to my emails. Seriously, if I was a PR person and I contacted somebody in the media and that person replied back with, “That sounds interesting, can you get me some more information on X?” I would write back IMMEDIATELY. I just got an email from a PR person that I replied to December 28 saying I would like more info. Does her client know how long it took for her to respond? I hope so, because this person deserves to be fired. (And you all know how I feel about firing.)

3. Your public relations firm makes promises that you are not prepared to keep. I get emails like this a lot: “John Doe has developed an exciting 6 step plan for turning employees into Palm Trees! This is not only good for the environment, but good for business because palm trees don’t require high paychecks. If you’d like to know what these 6 steps are, please let me know!”

So, I email back and say, “Yes, please tell me, as I know many of my readers would like to turn their employees into palm trees.” And I either hear nothing for weeks (see above) or I get the following response, “Super! I’ll ask John to get you that list.” And again, crickets for several weeks. Did the PR person send out that email before John figured out how to do this? Why? Why did John Doe hire someone if he hadn’t gotten his list together?

4. I do not care who the new VP of HR is for your local company. I also do not care who the new VP of HR is for your international company. There are people who write about that stuff. I am not one of those people. Sorry. I’ve never written about that, and again, when I receive emails on this type of stuff that indicates that I’m just a name you’ve scraped off the internet. This bugs me.

This ends my crabby pants whining for today! Thanks for bearing with me. Please direct all your Public Relations friends to this.

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5 thoughts on “A message for the Public Relations Firms

  1. And as a flipside to #3… too much info, too often is way too annoying and it makes me not want to deal with someone’s company either. So maybe make sure that your PR person is not going overboard. 🙂

  2. Ha, thank you for posting this. Inept PR people are so annoying, and I too always wonder if their clients realize what they’re paying for.

    My other, related complaint is PR firms that offer me guest posts when they clearly have never read my blog and have no idea what kind of post would be a good fit (to say nothing of the fact that I don’t think I’d ever give a guest post to a stranger unless they paid a large sum of money, and even then I’d want to edit it mercilessly). Why yes, random stranger I’ve never heard from before, I’ll just hand over the front page of my blog to you to promote yourself.


    1. I can’t believe I forgot that one. Seriously. I don’t publish guest posts. Ever.

      Okay, one time, and it was from you and I would publish one from a long time reader/commenter/whatever that I knew and trusted and wanted to support. But not from random person.

  3. As a former PR agency senior staffer–these are all Very Bad Things in the PR world. My agency actively trained against these tactics, but many just unleash inexperienced people upon unsuspecting media and bloggers and expect them to fend for themselves.

    These people are likely very, very young, overworked and under-trained, so I would say–cut them a little slack and blame the managers who are horsewhipping them toward results at any cost, at the expense of doing good PR the right way.

  4. I experience the same problems. Tons of emails every day and maybe ten percent are relevant to my site. And I hate when people try to sneak a promotional link into a guest post.

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