Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Why PRs don't tweet

A PR agency canvasses journalists' opinions on the most irritating things that PRs say, write or do and gets lots of good stuff.

The one that hit home for me was a complaint about PRs who want journalists to follow them on Twitter, which adds:
"Show me the PR who can say something meaningful in 140 characters and I'll eat my shorts."
If a PR could condense what they had to say into 140 characters they wouldn't need to contact the media about it. If they could say it that concisely they would have a message.

A message spreads itself. It finds the people for whom it's of interest. Sadly for the PR, that's never quite enough for the client, who really ought to consider advertising. Instead they take that money and spend it on a PR, thereby doubling the irritation the journalists feel. More pages to fill, less budget to fill them with, more people "reaching out" and wanting to "touch base" with them.


  1. "Hi, I hope you are well" - I've had too many emails opening with that motif.

    The subext, to me, suggests if the PR can't work any enthusiasm up for an opening intro, have they listened/ are they interested in the wares they're trying to peddle and pitch my way...

  2. The relationship between PRs and journalists is over simplified by journalists. Firstly I'm pretty sure it's been measured at about 70% of editorial originates from PRs and there would be no PR industry if whole chunks of press releases didn't find their way into the media unedited - they do. I've been both sides of the fence and I've taken plenty of calls from journalists literally wanting me to fill sections of the paper.

    "I've still got nothing for Thursday - can you send me something?"

    It wasn't PR's fault that there was a time whereby the industry decided it wanted bigger papers and more supplements while owners wanted less staff and higher profits. PRs didn't invent the churn. Journalists just came running when they couldn't churn fast enough.

    I always thought it was odd how many journalists tweet negatively about PRs. Firstly if they are of no help then don't take their calls - at all. Secondly if you want them to be more helpful then don't tell Twitter what they are doing wrong, tell them.

    As for PRs' tweets. I'd largely agree. Twitter is not a good platform for nothing but selling. This includes writers who tweet the same article several times.

    "Here's my take on..."

    "If you didn't catch my piece on *** earlier, here it is "

    "Reading that news on **** reminds me about what I wrote on **** here it is..."

    "Don't miss our paper tomorrow when I'll be interviewing..."

    Or, we recently saw a whole load of Sun journalists who appeared to have turned their Twitter feeds over to their promotions departments to promote their paywall. Suddenly we got lots of promotions-speak super soaraway stuff.

    I've been a journalist speaking to some really dumb PRs. But then again I've spoken to some idiot lazy journalists too.

    The difference perhaps is that while there's a tradition of slagging PRs on Twitter - the PRs have to bite their tongue. If they didn't you might read a more balanced picture.