I’m so tired of reading Robert Scoble criticise PR people en masse – here’s his latest: PR-less launch kicks off a stack overflow of praise.
I totally agree with his viewpoint that should should build “PR by building a great service and turn your users into your PR agent” and there’s an element of truth in his claim:
Believe me, we all will hear about your product if it really does rock. There’s no reason to go crazy with a PR firm if you build something that people want.
However, the cited organisation has just demonstrated effective public relations by enabling positive, active publics to be formed through relationship building strategies.
Robert seems to have only ever experienced the press agentry side of PR that is all about pitching and spamming influencers. This has given him a one-sided view of what PR is all about, and unfortunately that enables constant sniping though his blog to perpetuate the idea that PR is all about spin and control.
There is a role for PR in supporting marketing initiatives (which seems to be the main aspect of PR that Scobleizer berates ie in relation to new companies, products and services in the tech sector). This includes helping organisations understand how to ensure key influencers, innovators and early adopters hear about initiatives, especially if they rock.
PR plays many roles in organisations, for example, in facilitating communications for those who are best served to engage with influencers. That is commonly engineers and designers in the case of motor industry PR and specialist magazine journalists. The PR people can get out of the way in such discussions, but most organisations benefit from expert counsel and appropriate materials, as well as the wider perspective that good PR people can offer.
Also, if a designer or engineer spends all his/her time engaging with external influencers, there comes a point when they cease to focus on the day job and actually become a full-time communicator. Hence, why many PR practitioners may have such backgrounds.
Just because PR isn’t overtly seen working in this more sophisticated way, the likes of Scoble equate the practice entirely with pushy PR agencies. I wouldn’t stereotype all techies or geeks by their most extreme behaviour or bad habits, so why can’t they give PR a break and realise there is more to the profession than what Scoble writes?