18 PR standbys that will never die

Why do we bother lamenting PR staples that have survived a thousand assaults intended to kill them dead once and for all? This industry leader wants to read new, fresh ideas instead.

I can’t remember why exactly I asked the question on Facebook, but I did:

I think it was because I’d just read a post about some PR standby (I couldn’t think of the right word when I posted on Facebook) that was dead, long live the new PR thing… you know the kind of post (or news article) I mean.

My community came up with some good ones. Here they are:

1. Mass pitching even though a bunny dies every time it happens. Gini Dietrich

2. Old-school metrics. Matt LaCasse

3. Press releases. Matt LaCasse

4. Fact sheets. Claire Celsi

5. Canned Q&As. Robin Ferrier

6. AVEs. Mary Deming Barber

7. Media advisories and holding statements, and people complaining about media advisories and holding statements. Scott Kaminski

8. White papers. Lukas Treu

9. Marketers claiming PR is a tool/subset/specialization of marketing. Debra Bethard-Caplick

10. Advertorials. Scott Kaminski (yes, again)

11. Trade media relations/bylined articles. Lukas Treu (also again)

12. Press junkets. Zen Yinger

13. “Success” determined by the number of hits/outlets. Jen Zingsheim Phillips

14. Blog posts that declare a tactic dead. Dave Van de Walle

15. The delusion that there is such a thing as “off the record.” Mark Sofman

16. The idea that PR is all about driving sales. It isn’t, but every VP of sales wants it to be. Christopher Penn

17. SMTs and mat releases. Jeremy Pepper

18. Paper. Betsy Decillis

Obviously almost all of these are old-school PR standbys, but there’s a reason they’re still around: they work… especially because they drive “hits” (see #13 above), which will never die because old-school metrics (see #2 above) just keep on keepin’ on. And while hits might be How Idiots Track Success (I didn’t come up with that, Katie Paine did), a hit is, you know, a hit.

That’s because marketers, who fight very hard to drive or own PR (see #9 above), don’t understand how to measure PR … so they fall back on what they do know, or can wrap their heads around.

Rather than write blog posts ad nauseam about things that are dead (see #14 above), I have an idea:

Why not write about the best mix of tactics for our work based on our goals, regardless of whether they’re old- or new-school?

And why not see what’s working, and what’s not, and adjust our strategies and campaigns accordingly?

Now there’s an old-school thought I can wrap my head around.

Shonali Burke is CEO of Shonali Burke Consulting, Inc. A version of this article first appeared on ShonaliBurke.com. (Image via)

Topics: PR


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