I can’t remember why exactly I asked the question a few weeks ago on Facebook, but I did:
PR "things" that will never die (Facebook question)I think it was because I’d just read some post or other about some PR standby (I couldn’t think of the right word when I posted on Facebook)( or other that was dead, long live the new PR thing… you know the kind of post (or, even worse, news article) that I mean.

My community came up with some good ones. Here they are, all 18 of them.

1. Gini Dietrich: Mass pitching even though a bunny dies every time it happens.

2. Matt LaCasse: Old School metrics.

3. Emily Stivers: Press releases.

4. Claire Celsi: Fact sheets.

5. Robin Ferrier: Canned Q&As.

6. Mary Deming Barber: AVEs.

7. Scott Kaminski: Media advisories, holding statements and people complaining about media advisories and holding statements.

8. Lukas Treu: White papers.

9. Debra Bethard-Caplick: Marketing claiming that PR is a tool/subset/specialization of marketing.

10. Scott Kaminski (yes, again): Advertorials.

11. Lukas Treu (also again): Trade media relations/bylined articles.

12. Zen Yinger: Press junkets.

13. Jen Zingsheim Phillips: “Success” determined by the number of hits/outlets.

14. Dave Van de Walle: Blog posts that declare a tactic dead.

15. Mark Sofman: The delusion that there is such a thing as “off the record.”

16. Christopher Penn: The idea that PR is all about driving sales. It isn’t, but every VP of sales wants it to be.

17. Jeremy Pepper: SMTs and mat releases.

18. Betsy Decillis: Paper.

Now, obviously almost all of these are “old school” PR standbys, but there’s a reason they’re still around; they work… especially because they help to drive “hits” (see #13 above), which will never die because old school metrics (see #2 above) just keep on keepin’ on. And while hits might be How Idiots Track Success (I didn’t come up with that, Katie Paine did), a hit is, you know, a hit.

I believe that’s because marketers, who tend to fight very hard to drive or own PR (see #9 above), don’t really understand how to properly measure PR… so they fall back on what they do know, or can wrap their heads around.

Rather than write blog posts ad nauseam about things that are dead (see #14 above), I have an idea:

Why not instead focus on the best mix of tactics for our work, based on what our desired goals are, regardless of whether they’re “old” or “new” school?

And why not actually see what’s working, and what’s not, and adjust our strategies and campaigns accordingly?

Now there’s an old school thought I can wrap my head around.

Shonali Burke
Founder and publisher of Waxing UnLyrical, Shonali Burke helps smart businesses make bank by taking their communications from corporate codswallop to community cool™. She is also the founder of The Social PR Virtuoso®, which provides online, on-demand training that helps you unleash your inner Social PR superhero. Shonali is mad about ABBA, bacon, cooking, dogs, and Elvis, though not necessarily in that order. Wouldn't you like to be in her kitchen?
Shonali Burke