PR pros will help rebuild New Orleans

Julia Hood's December 19 editorial so accurately recognized the events of the past year as having elevated our profession. Events of the magnitude we faced in 2005 summon so many heroes that any attempt to list them must fall short. That you used me as an example of the contributions of our profession is truly a humbling honor.

Julia Hood's December 19 editorial so accurately recognized the events of the past year as having elevated our profession. Events of the magnitude we faced in 2005 summon so many heroes that any attempt to list them must fall short. That you used me as an example of the contributions of our profession is truly a humbling honor.

As you know, no great enterprise is the result of any individual. The work and success of the past months that I have been a part of were achieved by many. Foremost: the outstanding leaders on my team who selflessly returned to ground zero of the storm weeks before civilians were allowed back.

But again, it is more than individuals. Our profession as a whole stepped up. Our efforts in New Orleans were so generously supported by fellow professionals around the globe. The offers of professional services, office space, brainpower, resources, and prayers were inspiring. The generosity shown to the Gulf Coast has many PR professionals replacing the title "colleague" with "family" for those who offered all that they had.

Your use of the term hero couldn't be more richly deserved. Though too many heartbreaking tragedies came from this new chapter in our history, it showed the enormous capacity of humanity. Heroes were born.

People united through our professional organizations and community groups, and the most remote acquaintances offered every form of support. The commitment from our profession set a standard to which government and agencies created for such crises are still working to meet.

You and your staff stepped up immediately with offers of support of every kind. Your interest in supporting people in need merits a place on that great list of heroes. That pitch-in attitude continues to fuel the ongoing rebuilding efforts here at home.

Thank you so much. I could not be prouder to be a part of the PR profession, or the rebirth of New Orleans.

New Orleans will regain its place as one of the finest cities in the world. It will be better than
it has ever been. It will be an achievement that was created by the generosity and heroism of individuals who came together.

Again, thank you for the honor. I am proud to share it with many, many people.

John Deveney
Deveney Communication
New Orleans


Give the information to bloggers, don't pitch it

I just read Julia Hood's December 19 editorial, "Even for new media, old media relations works," and I was compelled to write. I'm in a unique position, as I'm a former journalist, I'm a PR consultant/author, and my work has been referenced by blogs.

You are correct; all the rules of understanding the tone, interest, and content of the target do apply to both old and new media. However, PR practitioners must know that with blog relations, their "target" is the blogger. And they should not "pitch" a blogger. I have had my work referenced by known PR/ marketing bloggers like Shel Holtz and BL Ochman, and not once did I "pitch" them.

To be successful in blog relations, PR people must be able to understand bloggers.

Bloggers essentially write for themselves. Like anyone who keeps a journal, most bloggers are not overly concerned about appealing to readers; they write about what appeals to them.

If readers enjoy a posting, great. If not, that's fine, too. Therefore, PR people should not "pitch" a blogger by saying that the blog's readers will find a client's information useful or interesting. Instead, PR people should only contact bloggers with information that the specific blogger will find interesting.

And, most important, don't ask bloggers to comment about a client on their blog. It can be perceived as offensive. It's like you asking me to write about your friend in my journal. Send bloggers the information, and if they want to comment, they will.

Until PR people understand that bloggers and journalists write for different audiences and for different reasons, they will continue to learn "the hard way."

Wayne Pollard
Hunter-Pollard
South Orange, NJ

Clarification

In the December 12 issue, an article on Catherine Bolton should have stated her resignation from PRSA would be effective December 31, 2006.

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