After reading a post by Chris Clark at the Blog Herald, I started thinking about how people conduct themselves not only in public relations, but also in business in general.
Chris wrote about how he was disrespected by someone trying to blatantly promote something through his blog through a posting. Essentially, they attempted to deceive him by pretending to be adding to the discussion, but in fact, they were just providing spam to sell a product.
Personally, I think if most people tried to be more upfront with all their dealings, whether it’s PR, business, or even personal life, they would have a better chance of being successful.
If you’re not upfront or you are trying to be deceptive, as Chris Clark felt of the person who posted a comment to his blog, you are disrespecting the other party. In the case of the rogue commenter, he wanted free advertising for nothing.
At its core, most PR activity is about business and when you engage in business with someone, it needs to be mutually beneficial. To achieve this, fairness needs to prevail. If it doesn’t, it could lead to more than bad feelings.
The commenter, who attempted to spam Chris Clark’s blog, lost respect and potentially his reputation. In the process, he also wasted Chris Clark’s time.
The other issue I want to rouch on, which wasn’t discussed in Chris Clark’s blog, is the notion that PR professionals always have to communicate through every different type of media. There is something to be said about being selective.
Let’s face it, the reason the commenter posted spam to the blog was because the blog was there and the commenter didn’t think it through. If he had thought it through, he might have instead posted ads on Google, which is a medium geared more towards his objective of selling stuff.
Even good PR professionals make this mistake. When it comes to traditional media, everyone loves to get coverage in print and when they do, it’s seen as a big victory.
However, just because print media usually has a broad circulation and is high-profile, it’s not always necessarily the best way to deliver a message. You can’t always control how your message is disseminated, and you’re not guaranteed of reaching your target audience.
For example, if an organization is dealing with a community issue, why must organizations and community groups deal with each other through the media? Why not communicate through a town hall?
If you can do it, communicate directly to your audience. If you’re being transparent and honest, people might not always like your message, but at least they’ll respect you, because you are respecting them.