THE BIG PITCH: What can tech pros do to counter the negative press the sector has received?

CONNIE CONNORS

CONNIE CONNORS

CONNIE CONNORS



Connors Communications



New York



Nothing. People are finally paying attention to PR because it is more

highly valued - and harder to get - than ever before in history thanks

to the Internet boom. That said, couple high demand with high personnel

costs, and in some cases fees may have exceeded the perception of

value.



This is something we all need to work on. We need to continue to educate

companies on what it means to build sustainable value in terms of

perception, as opposed to fly-by-night buzz-building. The Internet has

often been called the new frontier. It’s still nascent, and there is

some train robbery on the PR front. When we all settle down, the

community will weed out the good from the bad. It’s easy to promote a

wacky dollars 100 million ad campaign.



It’s much harder to communicate the benefits of a company with real

revenues, profits and customers.





MITCHELL FRIEDMAN



Mitchell Friedman Communications



San Francisco



As a profession, we discredit our work - and leave ourselves open to

unflattering press coverage - when we stray from the fundamentals. The

digression results when the business of PR supersedes the practice

Cogently argued, well-written documents, releases that announce genuine

news and the commitment to building long-term relationships are what

we’re all about. Moreover, the PR function must be ruthlessly objective

and ethically beyond reproach. We cannot worship at the altar of

marketing; rather, our calling is higher: how our company or client is

perceived. In short, it’s reputation. There’s no shortcut to success in

fulfilling this mission, as many of the firms trying to make a fast buck

in today’s hot market will eventually discover.





NICKI GLADNEY



RLM Public Relations



New York



In recent days, those who work in PR have been labeled everything from

inept eight-year-olds to indiscriminate spammers. Sadly, the fact of the

matter is that many journalists have had to withstand the advances of

the unsure and the inexperienced that work among us. However, an

agency’s track record ultimately speaks for itself. After looking at the

raw results, it’s not difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. We

see it as our responsibility to form positive and collaborative

relationships with our clients and media partners to produce the best

possible result: a good story. It is for that specific reason that RLM

practices what we call ’source-filing,’ a methodology based on the

premise of pitching stories that are of relevance to the media and their

audiences. This practice lessens the likelihood of practices that feed

negative stereotypes. It really is no more complicated than that.





ELIZABETH MCRAE SMITH



The McRae Agency



San Francisco



Unfortunately, it is a handful of PR people that have brought this

negative publicity down on the entire industry, which is infuriating to

those of us who practice our craft well. The best response is to

maintain the highest standards of excellence and integrity in the face

of those who are offering subpar work and plundering their clients with

a feeding-frenzy mentality.



Combating the negative press means adhering to a code of ethics like the

PRSA’s and practicing what you preach. It means being judicious with

journalists and taking the time to understand what they want, not

spamming them indiscriminately with e-mails and calls. It means not

overpromising and under-delivering.



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