Public Relations Practitioners: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

My bet is PR professionals are the ones answering the polls and not journalists and bloggers

PR Week (UK) asked “Is it OK for journalists/bloggers to name and shame persistent PR professionals?”

Being in the communication and media industries, favours are akin to commodities. And these nuggets of favours work on a barter trade basis.

Persistent PR professionals, on the other side, are trying their best to get their jobs done (well). However, to annoy these conduits of communication, i.e. journalists, is the worst of all PR faux pas.

Journalists should not have to put up with persistent PR professionals. If you’re a journalist and don’t see a news angle or hook in a PR practitioner’s pitch, why not be honest? To patronise a PR practitioner by not being honest on whether a story will be covered or released is to give room to being hounded.

In my books, good PR practitioners are those who provide clear and concise information. If an interview can’t be done or no information can be provided, these PR practitioners will tell you as it is.

A bad PR practitioner is someone who treats a journalist as his or her minion ~ dishing out information as if the journalist’s a beggar (Yes, I’ve worked with PR people who behaved like that!). Granted that the PR professional may be working under certain restrictions, a professional working relationship needs to be built upon by mutual understanding.

You, as a PR professional, should calibrate the journalist’s expectations AND your senior management’s sensitivity to the media. Not only will this make your role as a coordinator and content creator easier, you will also be able to get more out of these working relationships.

What about an ugly PR professional? Well, to be honest, I’ve yet to meet one

The closest that I’ve come across would be this lady whom I used to work with. She treated her subordinates, designers and vendors as if they were slaves and tried to squeeze for more jobs despite having a clearly written contract on the agreed job scope.

Have you met with any persistent PR professionals who get on your nerves?

Or if you’re a PR professional, how persistent do you get when trying to get a story placed?


2 thoughts on “Public Relations Practitioners: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

  1. Interesting perspective on the persistence of story telling and building journalist relationships. We’ve always taken the approach that the relationship with the editor/ reporter is more important than the placement of the client’s story.

    However, persistence is everything. It took 3 years to get a story into The Wall Street Journal with one client.

    We would love for you to check out our marketing and PR blog – we write about similar topics at

    • Thank you for sharing ~

      As a PR consultancy, prioritising the relationship above the placement of a client’s story is sometimes a necessity as you don’t just service one client; but you’ll always need the media relationships & networks.

      Journalists do move over to the PR camp too. New stories, to put it bluntly, don’t matter much after the analytics are done while well-maintained working relationships remain as the currency of the communication industry.

      Will def check out The Market Council’s blog. 🙂 I am still learning the ropes!

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