Where does PR end and bullshit begin?

Ann Hawkins PRBlog Where does PR end and bullshit begin?

Have you earned your spot in the limelight?

I organised an awesome workshop about PR with the inestimable Liz Weston of Weston Communications for our Business Growth Programme and it has some unexpected results.

Liz’s teaching threw up some interesting reactions from the delegates. The predominant feeling was how uncomfortable most of them are about promoting themselves as an expert; a go to person in their industry or sector.

Now this is where a pushy PR would say, “That’s why you need me. I’ll promote you, write your press releases and get you media coverage.”

What actually happened was a highly practical lesson about what business owners need to do to promote themselves as an expert and their business as the solution to a problem: two very different things.

“Who me?”

What it didn’t do was take away that fact that most of the people in the room would die rather than be in a media spotlight.

Faced with the task of writing a bio that would encourage journalists to ask for an interview there was visible squirming and muttering about “blowing your own trumpet” and “feeling like a fake”.

Some of this undoubtedly comes from our Britishness of not wanting to push ourselves forward but I’m guessing some also comes from reading the truly awful boasts of “world class / highly successful / best selling / international / highest paid ___ (fill in the blanks) that we all see on the web with absolutely NO evidence to show that these accolades haven’t just been made up.

So, what to do? Live in obscurity hoping that doing good work is enough or put yourself out there and balance the risk of being thought a fraud with the likelihood of raising your profile?

“It shoulda been me!”

The right answer? If you really ARE good, you’ll have evidence, the most powerful of which is your customers testimonials,  so the chances of being thought a fraud are minimal. So go for it – think of who you’d like to be interviewed by and write a killer bio that will solve their problem when they’re looking for an expert in your field.
Everyone admits that its easier to market a product or service than to market yourself but there is only so much PR you can do without a person, preferably the business owner, being involved.

If you look at people like you getting lots of media attention and think “That coulda /shoulda been me” maybe the only difference between getting noticed and not is a willingness to blow your own trumpet.

“Come and get me Jezza!”

One of the great questions Liz asked us was: “Who would you most like to be interviewed by or which newspaper/magazine/radio or TV show would you most like to be featured in?

Mine is Newsnight with JeremyPaxman talking about how small businesses are the life blood of our economy. What’s yours?

Ann Hawkins is a business mentor who will help you to make more profit, keep you accountable for your success and introduce you to a support network of your peers. Ann is the  founder of The Inspired Group, co-presenter of The Business Hub radio show and owner of The Social Media Show. If you’d like to talk to Ann about how to take your business from OK to Excellent call her on 07711 705038

6 replies
  1. KathySalaman
    KathySalaman says:

    Question Time for me! I could talk about why so few school leavers (and those of my generation) lack good grammar knowledge and why Gove’s current campaign to introduce it into primary schools won’t work unless he liaises with educational professionals.

  2. Jon Green
    Jon Green says:

    Likewise, Ann: I’d take Newsnight, and happily remonstrate with Paxo on computer education. As currently constituted, kids learn how to use Word, Excel, and…you mean they need anything else?
    How about basic programming skills, so that they can _really_ use Excel, instead of footling around with it?
    What about HTML, CSS and JavaScript, without which they won’t stand a chance of creating or understanding web pages? Or PHP and Python, so that they can at least fiddle with proper web sites?
    Sounds too niche? No, not really. We’re not a manufacturing economy any more. The country’s key high-value income streams are from intellectual property and high finance. We’re still great at creating things of all kinds, but that ingenuity’s being learnt in the Indian sub-continent and South East Asia. They’ll be slow to catch up, and we need to assert and maintain an unassailable lead if we’re not to switch places and see our economy irretrievably undermined.
    Not every kid’s going to become a programmer. But then, not every kid’s going to become a linguist, a chemist, a professional writer or a theoretical mathematician either – and they’re still going to be taught these things. If we don’t teach programming, the kids won’t get a chance to compete with countries where they do, and – as with maths – they won’t have the intellectual tools necessary to achieve and thrive in the coming years.

  3. Jon Green
    Jon Green says:

    KathySalaman Amen, Kathy. Dyslexics and EFL immigrants – for whom it’s reasonable to make allowances – aside, the competent use of English is something I use as a basic filter when processing CVs and cover letters. When I’m hiring for more-or-less anything other than office cleaner, I want people who can express themselves clearly, accurately and professionally, so that they can represent the company with the professionalism I expect. It’s not an unreasonable expectation, and it’s shared by many other employers.
    So many school- and college-leavers are failing to find employment immediately. The competition in the first-job market is vicious. It’s undeniable: poor English skills lead to poor career prospects.

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