Give Wea Nother Try
After my Wea Culpa post, I got more of the same feedback from across the PR industry. It’s time for a change and everybody feels it. I’ve talked to amazing, talented, senior folks itching to get past the BS or even wondering if they’re just about done with this gig. I’ve met with junior and mid-level folks feeling underappreciated, misunderstood, burnt out and either “over-it” mentally or actually close to giving up on the business altogether.
And, the worst trend of all that I am hearing now; people are wondering if the flaws we are seeing in the industry are not fixable. They think it might be time to abandon ship. Here are three reasons I think everyone should give the public relations business another chance.
1. You’re good at this: You give good story. You bring people together around a common idea and goal. You make sure the people who want/need to buy know exactly what a company has to offer. When you do it well, business needs what you do to succeed. No matter the medium or the era, these needs are timeless. They know not what they do by dismissing them.
2. We can make a change: If we can work together, we can make some changes. It’s time to stand up for clear, concise, well-told stories. It’s time to make sure business understands why it is important to have conversations across every area: customers, sales, employees, influencers – and let them know we can help them guide the communication ship. This will take letting them know when they should do (and pay) less too, but won’t it be worth it to fix this mess?
3. It could be great again: If we can do this, PR could be a great business again. One where the value is clear and everyone can see the impact. One where you can be challenged and use your versatility. One that fosters creativity around the new tools that are available. One where there is room to fail so that bigger success can be attained in the process.
Now the rest of the business world will have to help with this too. We can’t do it alone. And if you are on the product/client side, you should want to help. You need good people to stay in this business. I know some of you think that the best product can succeed without PR but it just can’t. It doesn’t always mean an agency or a consultant but you need communicators on your team one way or another. You need people who can help get the word out there – and, if you’re lucky, they’ll have the skills and interest to help you know what it makes sense to talk about, and when, based on the needs of your business. Even if you think there are too many marketing/PR people, right now you are losing some really good ones. Even an engineer can do the math on what that means long term. Help or PR will just get worse.
And while I’m doling out my thoughts, let’s remember, social media doesn’t make it all free. There’s a cost to manage this stuff and beyond execution, ignoring communication strategy is short-sighted and foolish. Hell, give PR a chance to get involved more deeply, and it might even help you do other things better.
Maybe we can all broaden our horizons to what public relations should really mean. It’s not just media and blogger relations. It’s not just coverage. Relating to your publics means so much more than that. There are a lot of people who want to interact very directly with a story, if given the choice. We need to create an understanding of the full communication ecosystem that stands behind the much easier to say acronym of PR – I mean, come on, we are the messaging people. right?
What do you think could make pros, newer and more experienced, change their minds about giving up on PR? What do you think needs to change about the business? On the client side, what are you sick of dealing with when it comes to “PR types?” Let’s talk about it.