This month, Ian Truscott has been shooting the shit with Jenni Young. The discussion quickly turned to PR and, well, let’s just say you’d better steer clear of the pool. Think they’re wrong? Let us know.
It’s a part of the life of a marketer, to be asked questions. It’s a craft that everyone seems to have an opinion about. Let’s be honest, some of these questions are stupid and, in her Backstage Q&A Jenni Young singled out one question that irks her, and nominated it to be chucked into our swimming pool:
“The question ‘can we get some PR on this?’ When you hear this, if you can take a minute to actually understand the need behind the ask, and what success actually looks like - with the multitude of marketing channels available - PR is probably not the only way to get the result that’s needed, and the other tactics may be a lot more measurable as well.”
I love the idea of chucking this into the pool; Jenni is right with her comment on PR as a channel, in my own day job I’ve ditched the idea of having a PR agency, in favor of investing in more modern ways to influence our audience, but the question is a multi-layered thing, it’s not just the channel, but also the content we are often being asked to push into the PR machine.
I don’t know when press releases became THE story or where this implication of guaranteed interest and distribution comes from. Whatever the story is, we get asked to put out a press release in the naïve belief that someone will pick it up.
From pretty much the beginning of time, press releases are the seed of a story for journalists to build around. If that story is boring, it won’t matter if you send a press release, put a message in a bottle or a billboard on Times Square. Nobody is going to care. Just because this is a press release, does not mandate people to give a shit.
Yep, we have all just followed orders and tugged our forelock to our CEO and released something under duress, with a sense of anticipated foreboding for when you have to crush their dreams and reveal the stats. No, nobody cared.
My advice on this question, is just ask WHY? And specifically, ask Who Cares?
So, yes Jenni, “can we get some PR on that” is plunging into the deep end as we fling this into the Rockstar CMO Swimming Pool.