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I'll quibble with this: "Now we have the opportunity to create relationships with journalists and bloggers all on our own. We don’t need a middle man for that; we have direct access (watch me work us out of a job)."
Yes, it is, in theory, easier for folks to interact directly with reporters/bloggers. But that's still a time suck of an activity, and there are a lot more fish in the sea. You used to be able to get away with a can't miss contact at the WSJ or NYT or wherever. Now, a top-flight flack needs to keep an eye on not only those big pubs, but dozens of bloggers and hundreds of people tweeting about a specific niche.
Even if a client does have those relationship-building skills (not a given), identifying the right people to talk to and nurturing those relationships takes time and energy and opportunity costs.
Now, I love to turn my relationships over clients (especially at the high level). The reporters love the access. The execs love cutting out the middleman. But the grunt work of relationship-building? Sometimes, it's best (and most cost-effective) to leave that to the professionals.
2 years, 5 months ago on What the Changing World of PR Means to Today’s Organizations
@ginidietrichYou're absolutely right. But I would still love to measure the feel-good stuff in dollars and cents. It's not impossible (I bet you can put a financial figure on Netflix's communication snafu last year), but it is very, very difficult.
2 years, 6 months ago on Self-Hating PR Pros and the Change in Industry
@ginidietrich @brianbreid Oh, I think you're probably right that we're talking past each other. But the idea that PR shouldn't call itself PR is kind of a hobbyhorse of mine, so I felt compelled to go (slightly) off-topic.
The business/metrics question is a hard one. To take a recent example: the American Cancer Society blogged last week in support of Lance Armstrong. It was a sterling example of what a well-cultivated relationship can bring. That was a brave post, and one of great value to Livestrong. But it's damn hard to measure that value. And that's the nut that I would love to crack.
My issue is that instead of bearing down and trying to quantify the ROI of relationships (especially in this hyper-connected world), much of our industry is coming up with metrics (measurable!) that may or may not have any connection with real business results, and then building products and offerings on that shaky foundation.
This all kind of makes me sad. The "relations" part of "public relations" seems to be falling into disrepair. Technology has somehow convinced huge numbers of people that PR is infinitely scalable, and that if you send enough cookie-cutter emails to enough bloggers or get on the first SERP for your key search term or push your content though enough online channels, you'll automatically succeed.
Too often left behind are those soft skills of building relationships and forging alliances, ensuring that the storytelling is aimed at people who are ready and willing to hear your narrative (and carry it on). This is in no small part because relationship-building doesn't always look like billable work in the short term, no matter how impressive the long-term payoffs may be.
(Caveat: I'm only talking about the self-hating part here. The you-should-know-the-business-of-your-business part is spot on ...)