Public relations professionals get a bad rap. It seems like I can hardly go a day without coming across a blog post criticizing PR people in one way or another. But why the hate? Are PR pros really these despicable, glorified car salesmen that others try to make them out to be? Or have people developed an unfair stereotype over the last century?
Of course, anyone and everyone have their opinions. What I can offer you are the reasons those propagating the PR pro hatred insist on doing so. Here are my 5 of the biggest reasons people hate PR guys (and gals). Keep in mind, I don’t necessarily agree with these points. I’m just playing the devil’s advocate here.
PR professionals keep people from talking to who they really want to talk to. Think gatekeeper. When there’s a really good story, a journalist wants to get to the root of it. But the PR professional stands in front of the door, acting as a frontline of defense.
They’re good at skating around the truth. If there’s a chance that the information a journalist is searching for can make a client look bad in any form or fashion, you can bet that the PR person is going to circumvent the plain truth if it’s even remotely possible. No, they probably won’t offer an outright lie, but you’d be foolish to expect the entire story.
PR people love to speak in generalities. Along the same lines as number 2, PR people are extremely careful with their words. So a journalist may feel like they’re saying a whole lot without really saying anything at all. PR people can be masters in the fine art of circumlocution. In other words, trying to get any REAL information proves futile and frustrating.
They typically don’t move as fast as others would like. For many, dealing with public relations people means red tape. And as you can imagine, red tape means lots of waiting. Now when you practically live on a deadline, waiting simply is not an option.
They simply exist to push agendas of paying clients. Bottom line is that PR professionals have one goal: make their clients look good. Not that you can blame them, of course; that’s what they get paid to do. But as a journalist, their company agendas just get in your way.
Are you a PR professional? Are the stereotypes fair? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments section below.