Tip #117: The bad rep

It’s sad when a PR person makes me want to cover a company less. But it’s not my job to tell company execs when they’re getting screwed by their reps. Advice to CEOs and internal marketing people: Don’t cede your media relationships to your contractors.


Filed under Relationships

8 responses to “Tip #117: The bad rep

  1. I don’t think owning the media relationship is wise if a company has a PR firm or consultant. If they’re making you want to cover their client less, I’m sure other journos feel the same way. The client will come to their own conclusion very quickly. Thanks for taking the high road and not ratting the PR person out. This isn’t any better than being insulted on Twitter or elsewhere.

  2. I wish you could go into more detail on this one–love to know what the flack did that was so very wrong. But I understand you don’t want to “out” the PR person in question.

  3. Hah, I only rat out the truly evil ones. Besides, nobody would pitch me *ever* if every little misstep was broadcast for the world to see.

  4. Kim

    I agree. Thanks for not identifying the culprit. There has been too much of that lately. Can you be more specific on what went wrong in a real generic way…?

  5. Aly

    Specifics would be great here Rafe.

    BTW, in a lot of cases the CEO or other company exec is asking (read: demanding) the PR rep to communicate to the journalist/blogger in a way that is causing everyone to look bad. It’s a really, really tough spot for the PR person to be in. The good ones will explain to their client why this is a bad idea, the best ones will flat out refuse to do it because they know the long-term effect. but sometimes it comes down to appeasing the client and looking bad to the journalist — or losing the client. Which opens up a whole other can of worms that’s much easier talked about then acted upon — especially in this economy.

  6. Aly, thanks for that scary peek inside the PR world. I hear you, and I feel bad for the reps who get stuck in that position. However, you still have to figure out a way to not piss off the writers, because you may not have the client forever, but you do have your own personal reputation to worry about.

  7. As Aly pointed out, often agency reps are often asked to execute something they not only disagree with but have warned their clients will fail. In this case, it’s actually useful if you express your concerns to the PR rep. Then he or she can take your concerns to their clients and perhaps they’ll be more open to listening this time.

  8. Aly

    you’re absolutely right, the journalist relationship is the one that has to take priority. Having blogs like this to show to anxious clients I’m sure will help some PR pros who find themselves in this tough spot :)

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