how many PR pros does it take to change a lightbulb?When I keynote, I often kick off with a joke.

And the punch line to this one – how many PR people does it take to change a lightbulb? – usually gets a big laugh.

There are a bunch of punch lines, by the way, as I learned from my Facebook friends a few years ago:

“That’s a great question. I’ll have our spokesperson get back to you shortly.”
“I can neither confirm nor deny that PR people can change lightbulbs.”
“Excellent question, and you raise a number of important points. Next question.”

We PR pros sure do know how to laugh at ourselves. Which is good!

The sad part is that so often, we’re not the only ones laughing at ourselves.

“Spin doctors.”
“Flacks.”
“Douche machine.”

OK, people might not actually say that last one, but you can bet they think it. And this pisses me off.

Because it is a FACT that most PR pros are good, ethical people, trying to do their best by their clients and companies.

Unfortunately, it is also a FACT that when it comes to smart, effective Social PR, many PR pros are more disoriented than a one-legged duck swimming in circles.

Here’s a pitch I got not that long ago:

Bad Pitch

As you can tell, there were lots of things that rubbed me the wrong way.

But there were two things that REALLY pissed me off.

  1. The idiot PR people who put this together have no clue as to what makes me tick, which is one of the Biggest Pitching Sins EVER; and
  2. They had the gall – the GALL – to ask me to share a pre-crafted tweet, so that I could feel pleased to “be a good sport.” Without even knowing me, or what makes me tick.

This is the kind of pitch that gives PR people a bad name.

And it’s the kind of thing that is a HUGE Social PR no-no.

Because smart Social PR isn’t about using tools and technology willy-nilly just because we can.

It’s about using tools and technology wisely to create and grow communities around the conversations we want to generate; socializing those conversations; and motivating our communities to tell our stories for us.

This is the kind of PR that needs a makeover to be relevant and effective in the digital age.

And this is the kind of asininity we’re going to address at my upcoming micro-training, “The Social PR Makeover,” taking place on Friday, May 13, 2-3 pm ET.

Mark your calendars, peeps. It’s free. It’s LIVE. It’s online, which makes it super-easy to join.

And I might even sing.

Trust me, you do not want to miss this one.

More deets here. Sign up quickly, and that poor one-legged duck might suddenly find a 3-D printed prosthetic that fits perfectly.

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