Tuesday, 26 August 2008


There seems to be a lot of talk around the effectiveness of PR recently, I have summarised some opinions.

Jason Calacanis tells budding entrepreneurs that they don’t need a PR agency.

As both subject and writer it feels like I’ve learned a lot about how the PR and the press works–especially in the technology business.

My philosophy of PR is summed up in six words: be amazing, be everywhere, be real.

You don’t need a PR firm, you don’t need an in-house PR person and you don’t need to spend ANY money to get amazing PR. You don’t need to be connected, and you don’t need to be a “name brand.” Today, many bloggers lament how much press folks like Kevin Rose and Robert Scoble get. They say that they get too much attention and that they got this attention too quickly and without earning it.

Michael Arrington, founder of Techcrunch, has similar suggestions:

I can’t speak for big media journalists who’ve been in the game for years and years, but from my experience with blogging for a few years, I agree that PR as a profession is broken.

They’re trying to apply the same rules they used when the number of journalists covering their companies was a manageable, chummy lot. Today there’s a whole spectrum of people writing about startups in big media publications, large and small blogs, Twitter, Friendfeed and everything in between.

Most PR folks don’t read blogs and certainly don’t understand them. All they see is a Google alert with their clients name, and rush to put out a fire. Down the road they may try to bring those bloggers into the fold, largely relying on word of mouth as to the best way to approach them in lieu of actually reading the blog itself.

That leads to the occasional massive clusterfuck and some truly hilarious moments that I would like to write a book about some day. To sum it all up, the relationship between bloggers and PR firms is shaky at best. Or at least it should be. Some bloggers really cultivate PR relationships, but for me PR is the last refuge when I’m attacking a story. They keep trying to put out the fires I’m starting.

So back to practical advice: what do you do if you’re a startup looking for help in getting the word out about your company? First off, don’t hire PR help until the volume of inbound requests by press are simply too much to handle without help. That’s way down the line for most companies.

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