I’ve been a practicing PR pro for over forty years. And, I’ve always proudly considered what I do an important adjunct to the news business…not the dollars and cents part of the news, but to the journalism part. A journalism professor of mine years ago told me that the acronym, “PR,” should stand for “Performance –Recognition.” That as PR professional…even as one that’s paid for actual results and not just effort…my job was to find what was newsworthy in my client’s company or product or cause and to gain the media’s recognition of this…not by writing a check, but earning this media coverage by making my client’s story as interesting and timely as possible to a journalist covering the subject. No, not nearly as easy as buying an ad or a blogger, but the result was so much more credible and valuable that a real journalist thought it newsworthy.
But all that’s changing in the new world of bloggers passing themselves off as journalists and “content creation” being substituted for real news. Recently, for example, while pitching a client’s extremely newsworthy and downright cool consumer product to the multitude of mommy bloggers purporting to serve the client’s market as online journalists doing reviews, a relatively new phenomenon has appeared…a for sale sign…a big one. Blatantly presented with professional sales kits and even success metrics, these bloggers care little about whether a product or story represents something newsworthy and important on one end, or a least really cool on the other end…only that someone is willing to grease their palm with some cash.
Please! These folks are certainly not journalists and barely deserve the title of bloggers, those that write about newsworthy subjects, amusing observations or cool advances in our consumer driven society. They are simply paid shills. And like all shills, may have some value in certain circumstances, but not in PR.
And for the sake of open disclosure, I was paid nothing to write this blog…