Online PR still has a long way to go

Todd Ziegler at the Bivings Report has published a pitch he received from one of the five largest PR firms in the world. Todd’s obviously too nice a guy as he’s edited the pitch so as not to identify the culprit:

Hello,

I know that your blog is geared toward technology and general information. However [CAR COMPANY] has a program where they are [DOING GOOD THINGS]. Do you think that your readers would be intrested in learning about the program? If so you can insert the following infomation into a blogg.

A press release was pasted here

Todd’s edits are in caps, the three typos are in the actual pitch and that’s only the start of what’s wrong.

From my perspective quality control is something all big PR firms struggle with. I’ve seen some absolutely brilliant work come out of big PR firms, I’ve also seen some absolutely dire work. Smaller firms tend to be more consistent, they are either good or not so good (bad tends not to survive).

I’ve seen news releases (unfortunately called a press release, probably because the author had forgot to include the news) that are so bad I’d expect a second year PR student at Leeds Met or the University of Sunderland to do much better.

And these are written by so called account directors who appear to have never read a style guide in their life. How hard can it be to proof a release and ensure it is written like a news story rather than a marketing brochure?

I know sometimes it is the fault of cowardly account directors who are afraid to actually CONSULT and provide COUNSEL to their clients.


About Stuart Bruce

International communications consultant and PR trainer specialising in online public affairs, digital corporate communications, online PR and social media; frequent national media commentator and conference speaker.
  • http://www.stephennewton.com Stephen Newton

    All scary stuff. But I don't think you're right to get precious over press release.

    It won't be long before graphic design students (who have never held a scalpel) ask why we say 'cut & paste' and illustrate those functions with a pair of scissors.

    Just as ships have continued to set sale since the age of steam, so a media releases, news releases et cetera will continue to be press releases.

  • http://www.stephennewton.com Stephen Newton

    AAAGGHHH! A typo 'sail not sale'. I feel so stupid now.

  • http://pr-believethespin.blogspot.com Sam Wilcox

    If they spent a week with Chris Rushton or Philip Young they wouldn't dare make another mistake in their releases!