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Bad Public Relations People Are Bad For Our Profession

Bad Public Relations People Are Bad For Our Profession.

In a story where a reporter is denied access to an interview, it’s bad news. And in case you missed it, ID PR’s Bryna Rifkin, a publicist for stars including Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, and Michelle Rodriguez, among others, at this year’s Toronto Film Festival. As she accompanied Oscar winner Marion Cotillard down the red carpet, French-Canadian reporter Catherine Beauchamp asked for a quick interview with the actress.  This was reported in PR Daily.  Follow this link to watch the cringe-worthy exchange:

http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/8ecaa757-7048-4517-9bfc-de7e33098536.aspx?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

Bryna Rifkin makes the job of other public relations people more difficult with her outburst which was recorded for the world to see.
Bryna Rifkin makes the job of other public relations people more difficult with her outburst which was recorded for the world to see.

Who has more of a love hate thing going than reporters and public relations people? Who will always win in a dispute? If you said the people with the microphones, you were right.

Reporters Have Jobs To Do

Can reporters be a pain? Sometimes. But remember that like you, they have a job to do. There are fewer members of the working press than ever. If you persuaded one to cover your event, it likely means that they had to justify it to an editor who had to then decide what was not going to be covered instead. So, the reporter has to come back with a story or do a lot of explaining to their editor.  No one likes to do a lot of explaining.

Make Reporters Lives Easier

Public relations people should be there to help make the reporters’ job easier. In doing so, it is far more likely that the client will see, hear, or read the story they want and expect. The reporter wins and your client does as well. Win-Win!

As a lifetime public relations person, I always accompany my clients on interviews for their protection against being misquoted or saying something they may not mean or fully understand. It never occurred to me that a fellow practitioner would be the one who needed protecting.

Your Client Is The Story

As a publicist, you are not the story. Your client is the story. Denying access to a reporter (who is standing right there for gawd’s sake) does the client a disservice. People who might not otherwise know about whatever movie, book, new product or whatever and gone and spent money on it, are denied the opportunity because  you are having a bad day. Keep your emotions in check. Revel in the knowledge that in spite of it all, you delivered a good value for the client, then go home and enjoy your affluent lifestyle. Good living is always the best revenge.

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Public Relations Is About Compelling Stories and Content, Not Who You Know

Public relations has evolved from a practice that demands contacts to one that requires interesting content.
Public relations has evolved from a practice that demands contacts to one that requires interesting content.

Public Relations Is About Compelling Stories and Content, Not Who You Know.

When I was first starting in public relations work in the early 1980’s people like me made it a point to get to know reporters and befriend them. I was promoting cars for Ford Motors and got acquainted with people in the area who covered the auto business. I would also arrange for them to test drive cars Ford wanted covered. It worked! Ford got lots of favorable coverage as a result of this. But life and technology and needs of the marketplace evolve.

Media in the form of editors and reporters working the way they did in the time of traditional ink and paper are gone. If you own a computer and connect to the Internet, you can be as influential as the Wall Street Journal once was. For the 21st century public relations person, you need content. Compelling news stories that will make the reader/listener watcher’s lives better and by better I mean easier, less expensive, more convenient.

Today’s public relations writer could learn a lot from inbound marketing gurus like David Meereman Scott. In so many words, Scott says that by making the information on your web site valuable to the reader and offer it for free, you are more likely to draw an audience of people who will want to do business with you. So make the content of your press releases all of the above (newsworthy and better for the lives of readers) and extend the value of that information by including it in direct e-mail, videos, audio/podcasts, and even brochures. It will test your flexibility as a writer, but ultimately draw a bigger audience. And if on line or print publications pick it up and publish it, then so much the better.

Go here to learn more about David Meerman Scott. “The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly”

http://www.amazon.com/The-New-Rules-Marketing-Applications/dp/1118488768/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371159792&sr=8-1&keywords=david+meerman+scott