10.31.2008

Public (Relations) Humiliation

There are many times when I'm very happy to not be working in PR anymore. So much of the business is busy work that drains the soul to do, pisses off the editors and analysts you're trying to cultivate and really just blows chunks.

One of the very worst parts of the job are the call downs. A call down is, basically, war dialing editors from a huge list of contacts that have already been emailed to request an interview to try and garner some client coverage or interest.

Why do call downs suck? Because you know the editor (most editors) absolutely hates the interuption of a ringing phone. And jeebus do they hate, hate, hate a call to ask them if they got your email. Rest assured, they did and if they didn't respond immediately its because they are a) busy with a deadline, b) busy with other interviews, c) uninterested or d) it isn't their beat.

I can't tell you how many times I've had to make the call down only to find out that the editor no longer covers the security space or the insurance technology space. Most editors are pretty nice about it but I have had some really lay into me for the off target contact. I've had one who went one step further and, when he ran into my client at a show, told them what a terrible job of PR my team had done for them. Yes, I know exactly who he is and no, I will not out him here. He knows he's a dick and he doesn't care in the least. And no, I never contacted him for anything again. I wouldn't stop to piss on him if he was on fire. And its been seven years or more. Not that I'm one to hold a grudge or anything.

I know enough editors well enough to have a tiny idea of how inundated they get with emails, phone calls, interview requests, conference briefings, product reviews and, now, Twitter and other new media networking tools.

No job is perfect and no job is a perfect fit but I could feel myself increasingly becoming a worse and worse fit for the grunt work side of the PR game. I loathed the call downs and it probably came through in my pitches. Suffice it to say that I rather enjoy the work I do now even if the pay is quite a bit less, I don't have an integral part of my work that entails pestering and interrupting busy editors and analysts.
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