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DIY PR – A disaster in the making

I wrote an article for Dynamic Business nearly a year ago that I want to revisit.

The premise is simple.

Strategic communications, corporate affairs, media relations, PR, issues management, stakeholder relations, crisis communication – these are all specialist fields of advice. So I’m always amazed when I hear horror stories about clients who “got a mate” to do some “PR” and, in the words of the great Cold Chisel (Bow River) …the whole episode went no-where in a hurry.

I hear it a lot. “We sent that media release out and no one called us.”

No, and neither would I. Because I saw that release.  It was poorly structured, not written to style, you sent it to t he wrong person at the wrong place at the wrong time. And so on it goes.

It’s like saying you’ll get a mate to do you tax or financials because they can add up. Or getting a mate to look over some contracts because they did 6 months of law school.  Or even better, asking a mate to remove than mole on your back because they work in a hospital.

So here it is in a nutshell folks.

Fact one – DIY strategic coms is like DIY -learning to become a pilot. Not a great idea, bound to ensure you crash and burn.

Fact two – There is more than one tool in the toolbox

Fact three – Relationships bring results.  If some mentions “media distribution list” run like the wind. Your advisors should know people on a first name basis and be able to pick up the phone to them, or at least understand how to get to the right reporter without a list.

Fact Four – you get what you pay for. Simple fact is, some people want results that cannot be realistically achieved.  Doing it on the cheap will not save you money. Enough said.

Things you should look for in a firm of advisors.

  1. Work with specialists, not generalists…so a firm that knows what it’s good at, and isn’t caught up trying to be all things to all people.
  2. A firm with capacity. Bigger isn’t always better, but they need to have the resources to deliver.
  3. Experience in the right areas –  you have a right to know who is doing your work – don’t settle for the B team
  4. Fun. Do they know how to make it fun, and do they share your DNA?