So as I embark on this little experiment I want to make sure there is some variety on the blog. I will blog about various business related issues in addition to conducting my branding project. I’ll categorize everything for easy reading though.
Anyways, I’ve became a fan lately of Guy Kawasaki’s blog, How to Change the World. Guy Kawasaki, author and serial entrepreneur, is an excellent writer. He makes business writing easy to and enjoyable to read.
On May 29, a friend of his named Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin, an online real estate firm, posted a response to an earlier posting by Marge Zable Fisher of theprsite.com regarding the reasoning behind the failure of public relations. I should clarify. Fisher’s article explained the reasoning behind the failure of public relations. Redfin’s article explains the top 10 reasons why an entrepreneur promoting a start-up should skip hiring a PR agency all together and promote themselves. DIY PR, Kelman calls it.
Here’s a summary:
- “The truth will set you free”. Basically Kelman states a entrepreneur “stripped naked, warts and all” will reveal authenticity and character. Who would you be more likely to trust? Someone hiding behind their PR person’s carefully crafted words or the entrepreneur with no qualms about speaking for themselves, allowing themselves the opportunity for “thoughtfulness and spontaneity”?
- “The Rolodex is already online”. With the connectivity of today’s world, Kelman points out that most journalists have email addresses published online or maintain a blog. Professional services such as LinkedIn and Jigsaw provide similar opportunities for contact. Some tips that Kelman provides include sending a sincere note to start a conversation possibly regarding one of the journalists stories, suggesting an idea for a story, and keeping any pitch short and expectation-free.
- “You don’t have to seem all grown up and boring”. There are enough grown-up, boring people publicized. Kelman states that “what this spun-out, over-hyped world is absolutely famished for is a little genuine personality.
- “Ideas are the precious thing”. Journalists want an interesting story with unconventional ideas, not some boring yarn spun by a protective PR person.
- “Let the fur fly”. Always remember that no drama equals no story. Entrepreneurs should come by this knowledge naturally as they tend to be born risk takers. Kelman argues, “publicists are terrified of a genuine story with real characters and an unpredictable outcome”. However, start-ups don’t succeed without these characteristics.
- “Nerd-to-nerd networks are where it all happens-and value speed in everything you do”. Publicists don’t value the internet’s role in PR. Remember that conditions in cyberspace change every instant and you don’t want to have to negotiate with your PR agency to respond to a posting about you or your company out in the blogosphere somewhere. Speed is of the essence.
- “Even bad coverage isn’t so bad”. Kelman says to never complain about coverage, avoid self-absorbed storylines, and to shrug off the odd mistake. Coverage is coverage after all.
- “Go in alone”. The reasoning behind this: It’s hard to connect with a journalist with your PR person standing over your shoulder. Kelman compare it to a teenager trying to make on move on his prom date while his/her mother is chaperoning. I love that one!
- “Passion+Expertise=Credibility”. This is so true. Nobody except for you will ever have as much passion or knowledge about your project as you. How the public see you and your company should be as honest and authentic as possible and that can only happen through your interaction with them.
- “Make time”. Kelman states the most entrepreneurs he know say they don’t have the time to conduct their own public relations. He says to make time. By focusing on a few big ideas and using tools such as feed-readers and Google Alerts to track industry news, you should be able to manage your time effectively enough to, well, make time.
I found his points interesting and totally believe as authenticity and integrity become more important in a skeptical business world (think Enron), people will need to see your face and hear your voice to trust you enough to do business with you.
If I recall correctly there was a related article in Wired magazine a couple of months back discussing “radical transparency” in the workplace. Just searching for it now on the Wired web page strikes me funny because the author speaks with none other than Glenn Kelman! Click here to read the article.
Entry filed under: Public Relations.