Recently, I noticed a tweet that suggested you were only as good as your last 30 days in PR.
Here’s why I think – excuse my French – that’s total boll*cks.
But let’s be fair first. I do understand the rationale behind a post like this, there are recurring arguments (especially in digital PR land, but then again, isn’t there always something to disagree on?) that agencies should be consistently refreshing their case studies, and refrain from self-branding as “award winning” when no awards have been won in decades. I do think that to maintain integrity, you need to keep your best examples fresh and current, to prove you can consistently pull it out of the bag. Further to this, I view an agency or business as award winning if they’ve won in the last < 2-3 years. Any longer than this, and it’s time to think about refreshing your title.
This, however, is trivial. Sure, consistency is important and you can’t rely on work from years past, but the suggestion that you’re only as good as your last 30 days in PR is ridiculous to me. Let me offer up why I think this.
Hellllllll No You Aren’t
Let it be said, before I begin rambling, that opinions are what makes us different. Wouldn’t life be boring if we all thought the same? Where I might disagree, others might take a different approach. For me, however, the indication that you’re only as good as your last calendar month in PR just doesn’t sit right. For the most part, this industry isn’t about robotically churning out results, it’s about crafting campaigns that make a difference. And hell, if that takes longer than 30 days, so be it.
Campaigns Take Time, That’s Okay
This statement, though probably intended to be harmless, dramatically undermines what we do in the PR industry. It also knocks us back a step as we try (all the bloody time) to prove that PR isn’t advertising or even marketing, it’s about building a strong and reputable brand which takes years, not just months, to create and protect. Short and spunky campaigns are important, but only as part of a wider strategy. Otherwise, we’re not working with the bigger picture in mind, and isn’t that what it’s all about?
What If I Take A 30 Day Break?
Not only this, but isn’t the notion that you’re only as good as your last 30 days, damaging to those who don’t ‘PR’ for a living? You don’t have to perform every month to be an ace communicator, and likewise just because you’ve had a decent campaign in the last 30 days, that doesn’t necessarily make you any better or worse than those who haven’t.
We’re Losing The True Meaning Of PR
One of the main reasons I shifted over from digital PR, to traditional, is because of this type of argument. Sometimes I feel like the true meaning and purpose of public relations can be lost in a grapple for backlinks. For the most part, I am truly amazed by all the incredible campaigns executed by digital PRs up and down the country, they make me proud to be a part of this industry. However, we aren’t completely shot of some of the more lame link building tactics that pass no real PR value. I think the future of PR looks like a hybrid of digital and traditional – one that works to create an outstanding position both online and offline for brands. If we’re stuck in the mindset of links, links, links, then I don’t think this can truly be achieved.
Does Pressure Lead To Half-Hearted Efforts?
Not too long ago, there was (yet another – lol) Twitter debate prompted by the ‘world sexiest bald man’ campaign and the ethics behind sourcing that information. However, isn’t “you’re only as good as your last 30 days” underpinned by the assumption that a your PR strategy should be built on quick-turnaround campaigns – some of which might be rushed through? That’s just my interpretation, but this mindset and pressure, to me, can encourage half-arsed results that might be better if not restricted by time.
A Bad Month Does Not = A Bad PR
I might be crucified for saying this, but does having a bad campaign, or a bad month make you a bad PR? No. We all know that the media landscape is tough, and sometimes it’s harder to land coverage than other times. Think Covid-19 and Brexit – ever tried to pitch a story while there’s breaking news circulating? Sometimes, that actually does feel like rocket science. Even reaching smaller regional titles can be a graft. Though consistent results are important, I don’t think we should discredit abilities on the account of a rough spell. How damaging is this to young PR people, to teach them that a bad month is simply not good enough? I’m all about learning from mistakes, and I think that was the true intention behind the original post. Speaking from experience, I’ve had terrible results in the past. Does this mean I’m a bad PR? Absolutely not. I still know how to smash it out of the park. Let’s create an environment when we learn from a bad month, instead of getting chastised for it.
Or… Are You?
PR Twitter will never be satisfied with one answer to the rhetorics of this blog post. Nor should they be. As I mentioned above, what makes us all wonderful in our own right are our opinions, what a dull world it would be if they were all the same. I do, however, think we have a responsibility to protect the PR industry. It’s far from safe from negative stereotypes, and certain suggestions might only work to fuel them further. Dare I ask it; what do you guys think? You can always let me know thoughts on Twitter or in the comments below.