Peter Shankman may very well be the world’s first Social Media Socialite. PR pro/author Richard Laermer doesn’t like it. Is the PR industry hurt when personalities shine brighter than the clients they represent?
No one likes a loser, especially clients. They want the best and the brightest, and what better way is there to judge how good someone might be at what they do by how they promote themselves? As someone who, ahem, has carved a bit of reputation in and around Phoenix, I know that this backfires regularly, but that doesn’t mean what I’m doing is wrong, only that I probably haven’t found the correct audience yet. So what issues do publicity/PR pros face when using their own personalities, and not necessarily client recommendations, to attract and retain customers?
You’re going to piss off a lot of people
Not everyone is going to like who you are and how you carry yourself. This could mean problems in attracting all kinds of clients, but it also means you’re only going to attract the right ones.
You’re going to attract advertisers/companies looking for promotion
Fresh Pair recently sent me three compression shirts to review. I was under no obligation to write about or review them, but because Fresh Pair knew I already used their product, the chances of me talking about them were much higher. Giving freebies to a PR pro in hopes you’ll pass that on to a client are risky, giving freebies to a PR pro in hopes they’ll influence their peers usually works better and it’s a helluva lot more honest.
You’ll be more honest
Hard to lie about who you are when most of your opinions are public. The public at large too often sees PR as a group of spinsters, and while that may be true a lot of times, I think they’re more likely to trust those who are transparent about who they are and what they believe in.
This certainly isn’t the only way to promote yourself to clients. What methods have you used, and please don’t say something like “hard work and quality deliverables,” to attract clients that might be outside your current network or sphere of influence?
(Disclaimer – I know both Laermer and Shankman and was invited to Shankman’s holiday party. I was offered a free plane ticket and accepted it. Oh, and my Klout score is high, so I guess I can say I finally got something from Twittering. Thanks, Jet Blue!)