OK, You Don't Have To Fire Your PR Firm If You Don't Want To But ...
Don't expect me to talk to them, reply to their e-mail, or even read any of their missives. I'm not trying to be arrogant, I'm just sick and tired of having my time wasted. Although your PR firm will casually overlook the fact that this is NOT my full time job and that from an opportunity cost standpoint, it's still a loss for me (as the income I pull in from it is still less than what I would make spending an equivalent amount of time consulting), those are the facts and I'm tired of being:
- spammed six times with the same press release I wasn't interested in the first time around
- ignored when I do reply
- run-around in circles after being promised a conversation with an executive, customer, etc.
- rescheduled six times for a demo that ends up not happening because your PR firm has no organizational skills and / or control over your schedule
- told the week after my trip to the other coast that "we have a meeting set up for you tomorrow"
In other words, I have not had a good experience with an external PR firm since I started this blog. (And every message from a PR firm that slips through my spam filters now results in a new spam and/or auto-delete rule.)
But more importantly, as Jason Calcanis wrote in his phenomenal post On How To Get PR For Your Startup: Fire Your PR Company, and as I elaborated on in my Blogger Relations II post on Fire Your PR Company, the best way to get PR is for YOU to BE THE BRAND. It's about being amazing, being everywhere, and being real. A PR firm with a lackey parroting a press release is not real. A media monkey with some sound-bites who cares more about the monthly cheque than your product is not real. A voice who never wavers from a script, and who can't answer a simple question about your product or service, is not real.
What is real is an executive reaching out saying "Hi. I'm so and so of Company X. I believe we have a great product. I'd love to show you." That's real. That gets attention. That get results. Especially from yours truly.
I've never turned down a demo*1 request that came direct from a vendor ... and I don't plan to, ever*2. It's one of the things this blog lives for as it's the only true way for me to educate my large and growing readership on what you do and how you could help them. Now, if it turns out the demo is not as exciting (to me) as you claim, or that I don't see anything innovative in, there's a chance I might not blog about it ... but I will have sat through the demo and will be more than happy to tell you what I think. So it's a win for you either way because maybe I'll see something you didn't, and give you a suggestion that could take your solution from good to great or great to greater. And you'll never know unless you contact me. My e-mail's on the blog (check the sidebar and the "about" posts). Looking forward to hearing from you.
*1 Just a reminder that by "demo" I mean real product demo and not a powerpoint presentation.
*2 The one condition is that you have to have some flexibility in scheduling. Since this is not my full time job, you can't expect me to be available at any specific time.