Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Clueless PR 

Stories like this give PR a bad name. It appears the reporter knew more about Google than the PR person, and the PR person failed to do homework. It's upsetting. What it does is verify a reporter's worst impressions about the PR business -- namely, that we are clueless drones who interfere with reporting rather than helping.

There are times in every company when one is trapped off by events and activities in the ranks. Even though one keeps an ear to internal news and gossip, someone has been doing something somewhere you don't know about. This should be rare, however. The first job of a good internal PR person is to know what is happening inside, so he or she can represent a company properly to the outside.

As an agency person, I rely on the deep knowledge of internal PR contacts to stay on the right track when representing a company to the media. If my contact doesn't know, I'm in trouble because inevitably I will say the wrong thing or miss a critical nuance. That is why good PR programs always require good internal PR. There never should be competition between an internal person and an agency, but unfortunately, there often is.

There should be a required course for every company PR person. That course has but one lesson: Know what's going on inside. It would involve building contact lists internally, tracking gossip, ferreting sources deep in the ranks to the point where a CEO asks the PR person regularly what he or she knows.


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