The Problem With PR Prose

For some time I've wondered why people don't get annoyed by me promoting myself on Twitter. Admittedly some people probably do get annoyed, but since they never tell me so, I guess it doesn't matter.

But back to the point, I promote myself every bit as much as the worst spammy PR offender on Twitter. I mean my stream is filled with links back to my blog posts and to The BeanCast and to Ad Age Outlook and I really can't say it's any less egregious than any other PR flack promoting their wares.

Yet, time and time again I'm specifically called out by people saying, "You do it right." And I'm like, "What am I doing right?" To which they say, "You just aren't as annoying." To which I reply, "I am annoying, but thanks anyway."

It's been a conundrum.

But then this evening it hit me. And the insight came in an unusual way. I was promoting Ad Age Outlook's latest episode and decided a good way to do such was to make fun of Ad Age Managing Editor Ken Wheaton's "nubbin." (His inappropriate name for the small piece of text that accompanies each posting.) So I wrote a fun tweet, posted it and immediate people started engaging with it. And I finally got why people are up in arms over PR spammers yet willingly allow me to spam them:


Okay, duh! But seriously, too many PR folks in their efforts to be informational and professional have forgotten that advertising is supposed to be fun and/or to get people talking. The best ads are creatively thought out, carefully executed masterpieces. They aren't just informational. They are little entertainments.

Further, we don't just run our ads back to back. We look at complex formulas to determine reach and frequency, not just dump a bunch of links with an auto-blast. Free bandwidth has crippled our sensibilities about timing.

In short, I don't just tweet interesting links. I attempt to craft everything I say like a copywriter forming an ad and launch it with the timing of a campaign. And that's the difference.

So to you PR folks out there, love you, but the medium demands something more interesting. It may be worth taking a page from the ad agency playbook before your next Tweeting session.

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