“When I Put My Political Views On Social Media I Lost My Biggest Accounts”

PR woman Cheryl Conner writes about a Cheryl Rios, a fellow PR person who says she lost a lot of business when she posted her political views online.

I used to be concerned about that myself – that posting my political views might alienate people I need to work with. However, I’ve been talking politics on social media for many years now, and it doesn’t seem to have hurt my work.

I try to be respectful of my peers, even though I’m often disdainful of public officials and of views I think are foolish.

Also, my views aren’t particularly outrageous.

Also, I nearly always keep political discussions away from work venues.

Still, I have been concerned about alienating industry people through my political posts. I discussed that with a friend inside the industry. He pointed out that a lot of people like to argue. So for everyone I alienate, presumably there’s someone else who’s attracted to the opportunity to tell me what a dope I am.

Conner writes about using political posts as a means of building business. That’s not why I do it. They are compartmentalized. My political posts and my work are separate parts of my life. As Americans, we have a right to free speech, and as Americans we have a duty to exercise that write where we believe something strongly.

I’m burying the lede here.

Throughout reading Conner’s article, I wondered what terrible views Rios held that made her anathema to her clients. Conner doesn’t say. So I looked her up.

Rios says a woman should never be President because hormones make them unsuitable wartime heads of state, and also because it’s in the Bible.

Rios’s problem isn’t that she expressed a political view online. Her problem is that her view is ignorant. Counter-examles from history: Queen Elizabeth, Golda Meir. Counter-examples from the Bible: Deborah, Jael, and the Queen of Sheba.

The odds are against us

America now has nearly 5 PR people for every reporter, double the rate from a decade ago [Mike Rosenberg – Muck Rack Daily]

15 years ago there were two PR people for every reporter in the country. Now the ratio is 4.8:1.

But wait, there’s more: Journalism is contracting, while PR is growing. The number of news reporters declined from 65,900 in 2000 to 45,800 in 2015. Meanwhile, the number of PR people has gone from 128,600 to 218,000.

This is a huge change, as companies and organizations are seeking to bypass a shrinking media industry and tell their own stories. What this means is that people are getting less objective news and more biased content.

Also, the pay gap between journalists and PR people is widening.

And this:

Different world

Meet the men of PR: ‘It is a different world for us’ [Yuyu Chen – Digiday]

It can get lonely for a guy in PR.

One senior exec with more than 15 years experience has often found himself to be the only man in the room. He recalls one meeting in particular when, while waiting for things to get started, a female colleague gushed about Tory Burch. Others joined in. “I had no idea what in the world they were talking about,” he said. “She responded, ‘You don’t know what Tory Burch is?’ And the rest of the women were like, ‘Really?’”

Sure, the smallest violin in the world plays the saddest song for this fellow. And yet, at some of the companies he’s worked for, he was often excluded from happy hour because the rest of his colleagues wanted a girls night out. He’s been left out of office perks, like manicures, when there was no macho equivalent.

I’m curious what my friends in PR think of this.

I have no idea who Tony Burch is. I don’t remember ever hearing the name before.

Looking through my inbox just now I saw…

Looking through my inbox just now I saw a press release that at first looked uninteresting but then the first paragraph said the company is a GLOBAL LEADER.

So I said to myself, holy crap, they’re a GLOBAL LEADER, I better get right on that!

A PR person asked for a response on their pitch. Here’s what I said.

The pitch had the subject line: “Don’t you hate it when people pitch you story ideas, Mitch.”

The first line was: “Well, I too have a PR pitch for you, but before you hit the spam button and move onto the next email, just give me 47 seconds…. ”

Then the pitch concluded by asking for feedback. I replied:

You wanted feedback? OK, here goes:

– I don’t cover this area. You need to focus your contact list on people who actually write about this kind of thing.

– You sent this to my personal email address. I last used this address for business in 2010. Clearly you are using an out-of-date list. Send pitches to my work email.

– Don’t be cute. “Give me 47 seconds.” A journalist or blogger reads the first sentence of a pitch email; if it doesn’t look like a story by then the recipient just moves on. You don’t have 47 seconds; you have about five.

– Just to underscore the previous point: I just finished sorting through my business email. Specifically, I was going through the folder where I automatically sort unsolicited pitches. There were 400 in there when I started. I went through about 100 of them, deleted every one of them, and decided I couldn’t bear it anymore today. I’ll try to look at the folder again tomorrow. But realistically, come on, who wants to do something like that on  Friday? Maybe next week.

I can’t emphasize the last point enough. The guy who wrote the pitch seemed to imagine journalists get one to four pitches per day. In reality, it’s more like a hundred. There have been times in my career when I was receiving 250 PR pitches a day.

If you want to get a journalist or blogger’s attention: Get to the point, get to the point, get to the point.