Archive for March, 2009

Dear Editor, I Feel Your Pain

I haven’t been immune to the visceral reaction to the countless blogs and articles about why PR professionals are the bane of this journalist or that blogger’s existence. I’ve read more than my fair share of blogs and article comments lamenting over the incessant deluge of inappropriate PR pitches, form letters and aimless follow up calls. I even shared my shock and dismay with my colleagues at BluePoint late last year when I found an anti-PR rant in the most unlikely source, from my perspective anyway, the print edition of CSO Magazine. I wondered, why in the world would they waste print editorial space on a tirade about an issue that their audience of security and risk professionals doesn’t care about in the least? (Please note: I still value CSO Magazine as both an editorial and a marketing partner, but I was incensed for a short time when I saw that in print.)

Perhaps my inherent rage stemmed from the fact that at BluePoint we try to make every pitch relevant, with the goal of building relationships for our clients and their primary industry influencers. I spent many years studying the dos and don’ts of PR, both for my B.A. and for my M.S. The PR team at BluePoint learned from professionals who valued how they had developed long-lasting relationships with journalists for both their clients and their own personal enjoyment, rather than those who counted clips and thought calling every single irrelevant reporter on a list was a best practice for an effective PR program.

But … my light bulb has gone on, and please believe me when I say (or write) that my light bulb is now at least 100 watts if not brighter. I have a newfound appreciation for journalists’ PR woes, and, yes, even their seemingly unfounded rants (at least to those of us who try to play by the true best practices of our profession). You see, my contact information has somehow made it onto some PR firms’ distribution lists. Now, on top of the hundreds of emails a day I receive from clients, PR/marketing partners, news outlets, and my traditional spam offenders, I have a new annoyance clogging my inbox and wasting my time – pointless, irrelevant and ill-researched pitches. I won’t name names, but I do wish the offenders would realize their mistakes.

I get a few pitches every week (which I know pales in comparison to those that my journalist counterparts receive every hour), and each one infuriates me a bit more. They obviously took no time to research the outlet/reporter, and they are all blast emails with no more personalization than the quick mention of my name. And the best part you ask? When I write back to them to let them know of their mistake (at first I was kind, now I admit I am a bit terse in my replies), it is ignored.

I’ve been restraining myself for weeks but could no longer resist the need to voice my “bad” PR frustrations. The silver lining to all of this annoyance – my newfound understanding for why there is often a backlash about supposed PR professionals. While I’d still like to think that at BluePoint, we play by the “good” PR rules and are not one of the offenders so often discussed in journalist/blogger circles, I finally feel your pain.

— Posted by Erica Camilo

The Audacity of Hope

(Photo courtesy of Bastian Groove, Flickr)

“Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”
– John F. Kennedy

Over the last two weekends, the discount store parking lots have been packed like its Christmas.  Harried clerks rush to manage long lines at the checkout register as shoppers vie for bargains.

5 new job openings have crossed my desk in the last 4 days.

We have signed four new accounts in three weeks.  Some are venture capital firms preparing to raise funds and make new investments.

After a significant dip in December, my company’s new business pipeline is as healthy as ever.

And yet……..

Two of my family members have lost their jobs.  The eldest of these (my mother) has decided to take a few months off instead of bang her head against the wall trying to find a job in the NYC economy.

So what’s happening?

Those of us who were children in the 70’s and have spent a career in technology have been here before.

We remember long lines at the gas pump as children. We remember the total technology collapse in 2001.  Guess what?  We survived and eventually thrived.  We learned to work smarter, faster, and better.  We don’t measure our personal value or worth by big bonuses, 401K accounts or pension funds.  We’re still out there, quietly toiling away in a way that adds value to our economy every day.

Certainly the manufacturing and banking sectors are taking it “on the chin.”  I’m sorry, but I think we might all agree that a correction is long overdue.  However, I reject the notion that there’s shame in success.

What the heck happened to “the audacity of hope?”  Why is it embarrassing to be working hard and doing well?  Is it so appalling that there’s no such thing as free rent or free rides.  Are we not strong enough to reinvent ourselves?  Have we become a nation of people who think we are owed a living because of where we live?  Should we protect ourselves from other nations that have pulled themselves up by the bootstraps?  I credit my fellow Americans with being able to do so much more than seek entitlements and protectionist policies.

We can and should be the greatest generation, but we must turn the tide of pessimism and not be afraid of optimism.

We are slowly emerging to forge a new economy and a new way of thinking.  Old yardsticks like the Dow Industrial Average might never again be reflective of success.  We need new yardsticks and new thinking.  Above all, we must go boldly into this night and not be afraid.  Success is nothing to be ashamed of – your success might be the very thing this economy needs to get back on its feet.

What can you do today to offer optimism and help reshape our economy?

— Posted by Alison Moore

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