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Why Your PR Dude is Failing You

While I do appreciate a tweet debate from time to time, every once in a while it’s worthy enough to share the conversation here and discuss it further. The example I’m providing today started with a press release that we worked with Dittoe PR on to announce their new website.

PRDude… a self-proclaimed defender of the public relations industry who is cloaked in anonymity (a great social strategy), took the press release to task because it didn’t fit his vision of what a press release should be utilized for… news. I’ll let you read the conversation:

The irony is that one of the reasons we enjoy working so much with Dittoe PR is that they realize that their public relations efforts are one part of an overall marketing strategy. We’ve worked on a number of clients and had exceptional results by leveraging press releases with a robust search and social engagement strategy. This particular press release is a single step in an overall strategy of us communicating that out to the masses.

It’s disappointing that old-school PR types like PRDude don’t understand inbound marketing, conversion optimization, landing page strategies, branding, awareness, search engine optimization… and sometimes they don’t even realize all of the advantages of a great content strategy. One of the largest PR firms in our city recently closed… the industry is changing and they couldn’t keep up. I guess that’s what PRDude is defending.

By tweeting about this – despite the trolling – PRDude has provided the very evidence that our press release was a success. I love the fact that he acknowledges that he found the release in great placement on Google News. That’s awesome! We’ve obviously reached an audience that we hadn’t before – a goal of our PR distribution. (Interestingly enough, it appears our local distribution has somehow gone national on some sites.) We’ve received dozens of tweets and website mentions from the release.

Press releases aren’t simply about writing “news” anymore. The PR industry has evolved… but it’s leaving some of its PR professionals behind. Consumers and businesses are seeking information through search engines, so having an organic search presence is necessary. Consumers and businesses are engaging socially, so having a social strategy is necessary. However, many businesses and media resources still rely on news distribution services to find the information they’re looking for – so press releases work well.

A well-optimized press release with great distribution will provide backlinks from sites that have high authority and relevance in your industry. We’ve seen much traction on press releases from our clients, seen their ranking improve, and gotten many leads by leveraging them.

I’ll continue to work with a progressive public relations firm that continues to find me and my clients incredible opportunities in the industry, including articles in the New York Times, Cult of Mac, Wired Magazine, iMedia Connection, VentureBeat, Mashable, etc. And best of all, they’re transparent about their work… brave enough to share their names and their firm online.

So… PRDude may not agree with me (he’s now accusing me above of having fake followers, too). That’s fine, I really don’t care. He’s not my target audience and hasn’t a clue about the effectiveness of the overall marketing we’re doing. While he’s trolling press releases in anonymity, we’re getting results for our clients and growing their businesses. I hope someday he’s able to trade in his typewriter and really take a look at how online has evolved the way we communicate with one another.

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About Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is the founder of The Marketing Technology Blog. Doug is the CMO of CircuPress and CEO of DK New Media, an agency specializing in assisting marketing technology companies with their inbound marketing - leveraging social media, blogging, search engine optimization, pay per click and public relations. Their clients include Angie's List, GoDaddy, Mindjet and many more. Douglas is also the author of Corporate Blogging for Dummies.

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  1. I wonder how long it’s been since this guy did some continuing education? Professors are adamantly trying to rid of the concept of a “press” release and insist on it being called a “media” release because… well… it can accomplish everything you mentioned, Doug. 

    • I have nothing against the use of press release as a tactic for marketing. What I was merely pointing out was the content of the release. When was the last time you pitched an editor for a newspaper or a producer for news program, the first thing they ask for is a press release. Additionally, when you send a press release of this nature over the wire, it gets sent to editors’ inboxes. This is why editors have this hatred for PR people sending garbage, when in fact, it’s marketers that are utilizing this service for content that isn’t newsworthy. That’s all I’m saying. If that is antiquated thinking, then call me old school, but I think it hurts a brand more than help when you’re sending crap out to journalists that anyone with half a brain knows will never be covered. We can debate this all you want, but we come from different professions. I respect those that I send content to and try to vet that it is something they would need. It’s about building relationships not blast emailing the world. Happy New Year!

      • PR Dude – I still take issue that it’s “garbage” or “isn’t newsworthy”.  I talked about the irony in this post – but there really is some.  There seems to be some sort of ‘marketer vs public relations’ tone out there.  The DK New Media relationship with DittoePR is news – a traditional PR firm that’s evolved and is working with a new media agency.  And… a new media agency that finds incredible value in public relations. 

        Because you don’t think it’s newsworthy, doesn’t mean that it isn’t.  The response to the press release has generated an overwhelmingly positive response.  In fact, yours was the only public criticism we could find.  And, again, judging by the great placement we received – it was news that was appreciated by many others.

        I do appreciate your candid response to the conversation, though!

        • I guess so. I’m not sure what you mean by media placements though. Anything that goes on the wire gets picked up by media outlets that subscribe to its service, but does it really mean a reporter will stop what he’s doing to cover this type of news. In 1996, yes, in 2011, no. I’d be suprised if any respectable third party media outlets like the Indy Star or even trades like Adweek or Ad Age would give this a second look. If you spun it as an alliance or partnership, then I see the news value. A redesigned website just isn’t enough for the standards of journalism in my opinion. I am not criticizing the tactic, just the content. Then again, I was responding to the other fella not to your post.

          Unfortunately, the marketer vs. PR thing has been ongoing for years as you know. Not to offend, but I dislike being referred to as a marketer. We serve two important yet different purposes for clients and brands with ultimately, the same goal. PR people rely heavily on relationships built with editors, producers, bloggers, etc. and it is irritating to hear them tell us that they get so much irrelevant news releases in their inboxes. You’re a blogger in the marketing space. Would you run a story about a client that developed a redesigned website on your blog? Which ones would you be willing to write about if every website that redesigned its site started sending a news release about it? How do you determine what is important to write about and what isn’t? Please tell me if I’m insane and not making any sense here. It’s the holidays and there have been many days spent drinking. Cheers! :-)

          • PR Dude: The response is how we determine what to write about and what not to write about. If the response is good, we continue to utilize the strategy.  If the response is bad, we find a new one.Happy Holidays to you as well.

          • Thanks. I wish you the best. Let me know when you’re in the Big Apple and I’ll buy you a drink. No debates just a nice scotch. Happy New Year!

          • A very cool finale to the debate. I agree there’s too much “crap” out there, but I think a release for the launching of a website is just fine, and it’s what I’ve known to be good PR – depending on the company, audience, outlets the release is sourced to, etc. I’m totally behind Douglas on his release, but agree we should be careful about overdoing releases. Some blitz everything, and it devalues their presence.

  2. Great debate fellas, and so nice to see two people who can agree to disagree with respect! +1 to both of you!

    • Thanks. I don’t know Doug personally, but I know he is a respected individual in his profession, and no matter where one comes from, we should all treat each other with respect. I wish everyone can debate in a civilized fashion especially presidential candidates or any one running for elected office. I’m betting we will be seeing more negative and personal attacks as the primaries heat up.

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