3.31.2008

It Isn't PR That's Bad, Its the Lazy Flack That's Bad

For some reason or another I've been getting emailed press releases from an agency that decided I needed to find out about their client's BIG, BIG, BIG news.

Being a reformed flack myself, I understand little bit about the pressure put on flacks. The pressure for coverage, the pressure for outreach, the pressure to score big for your clients every day because what you did yesterday doesn't mean jackshit today.

But, having been a flack myself, I also know that there are flacks who take shortcuts where ever they can, they puff up mailing lists with inappropriate contacts (like me), they wardial for meetings caring little for the editor's actual editorial beat and are tenacious once they've gotten a live body on the other end.

War dialing, in case you didn't know, is when a flack or team of flacks divide up a list of contacts that are supposed to be highly targeted, a script is put together and then each flack goes down their list calling each editor and spinning their spiel.

The trouble with war dialing as a fundamental public relations practice is that that vast, vast, vast majority of editors HATE getting phone calls, they absolutely loathe their phones because all they are is sources of distraction. And an editor's phone? NEVER STOPS RINGING. And an editor's email in-box? NEVER STOPS FILLING UP.

Have I mentioned how thrilled I am to have moved away from a career in PR? It is a soul-sucking, pride-swallowing and mind-numbing exercise in near futility. And, at the end of even a fantastic day, I always knew that it meant almost nothing for the next day. I miss some aspects of PR but I do not miss the workload, stress or constant client stroking.

Oh, and if the PR agency in question doesn't remove me from their lists as I've now asked twice then I will happily skewer them by name and will also take to emailing their clients directly from the unwanted and totally off-base press releases they refuse to stop sending me. Because there's one absolutely guaranteed way of getting an agency's attention and that's to get their client pissed off at them for spamming completely inappropriate contacts in order to inflate end-of-month reports.

Bad flacks make the job harder for all the other flacks and it is already pretty damned tough.

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