The top ten lies of PR companies

Posted by Matthew Stibbe
Picture of Matthew Stibbe
on 22 January 2006
How to do PR

Inspired by Guy Kawasaki's blog entry, "The top ten lies of venture capitalists," I decided to analyse the behaviour of PR companies. It didn't take long to come up with ten good 'uns more than a decade ago when I was working as a freelance journalist. I heard all these lies back then, often more than once.

Note that not all PR companies are skunks. If you find a decent one, let me know.

  • "I'll get back to you later today" = I'll wait until you nag me or I'm going to be distracted by the next person on the phone.
  • "I'm just having a bit of trouble finding Joe Bloggs" = I forgot to tell him about the interview and now his secretary is trying to pull him out of a meeting.
  • "I've read lots of your work" = Who are you again?
  • "Just drop me an email with the outline and I'll set up the interviews" = I didn't bother to listen to what you just said or take any notes. If you spoon feed me all the information by email, I may do something.
  • "When's your deadline?" = I'll make sure to call you back the day after.
  • "Can you let me have your number?" = I'll lose it and won't be able to call you when I really have to but until then I'll call you whenever you're on deadline or sleeping and ask if you received the press release I just sent you.
  • "We're organising a press release trip to San Francisco, would you like to come?" = We're going to cancel the trip a month beforehand but we'll only tell you the week before you expected to go and only after you've sold in two articles.
  • "Our client is perfect for your article" = what are you writing about? I'm sure he can find something to say about information security in the nuclear power industry.
  • "Let's have lunch" = I can bill my client and go somewhere nicer than Pret.
  • "I'll come along for the interview. It's a good chance to get to know the client's business better." = I can bill them for the time I spend listening into your dreary interview and it beats cold calling journalists for two hours.

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See also: press releases

Related service: Marketing Strategy