Do PR Firms Makes Sense Anymore?

Why do I, as a client, have to go seek out a PR firm -- why don't they find me? Wiley Publications, a 200-year-old book publisher, found me here on Huffington Post and asked to publish my next book.
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2010-03-01-quiet_please_public_relations_person_at_work_tshirtp235129109376369567qmr8_400.jpgDoes hiring a PR firm even make sense today with the world changing so much? Has the whole game of PR been altered forever because of 800 TV channels, satellite radio, Facebook, Twitter, blogging and other social media? Is the world so obsessed with 'reality' that actually creating public relations becomes impossible for even the best PR firms? Can a firm even grab the attention of television, radio or newspaper producers long enough to pay attention to the PR company's pitch?

I am writing this after hiring three different PR firms and not getting the results that either the companies or myself expected. Yes, we got some results and yes I gave each company most of a year to produce results. Each relationship started the same way; we met at my home or out for lunch to get to know one another. I told them my story, they ask who I want to reach, the firm gets excited, I sign a contract and then I pump them with relevant content that they can pitch to the stations, papers and radio. The team goes back and starts pitching. Things seem hopeful by their reports back to me and then little to nothing happens. I then call them because I feel like maybe I haven't provided them with the right angle, pitch or content and then give them new ideas. They get re-excited and the cycle repeats itself but still no results. The story ends with me looking for another PR company and the old PR firm having to find a new client.

I am writing this at this time because I recently had an experience where social networking collided with the professional PR firm and the results were amazing. The PR firm I have been using has a news-alert blog that they claim has a following of some 300,000 influential people. I recently created this very controversial video that had gotten a great deal of attention on the net and called the PR firm and suggested they post the video on their site. At the same time a friend, Ralph Paglia with ADM has a blog site with a tiny fraction of viewership compared to the PR firm posted the same video. My PR firm posted the link of the video on their site with no message, no photo, no call to action, no pitch. My friend Ralph posted the video with a personal message saying how compelling the video was and encouraged his viewers to open it.

Keep in mind, Ralph Paglia's viewership is a fraction, maybe 2% of the viewership of the professional PR firm. His 'promotion' to his public of the video got 1000%, (that's right, 1000%) more hits in the same 24 hours. Also his blog page was filled with comments resulting in his readers spending more time on his site. The video is a very engaging, controversial, "in your face" wake up call to people in business today called You Can't Handle the Truth,but has no value if it's not seen.

What is the point? No matter how good your message you have to get people to stop doing what they are doing and look! In today's world it is impossible for the world to know who you are without you making sure they know. You can do all the greatest things in the world but if you don't get the public to pay attention, which could mean just a simple, "you have to see this", or maybe you will have to grab the world by its throat and say boldly, You must listen to this, or they probably will not hear you over the orca that ate the trainer, the politician that cheated on his wife and treasurer head that didn't pay his taxes, or the celebrity that went to treatment (again).

Has the world just changed so much that the days of PR is ending? Or have the PR people just not changed adequately to compete or have I just not found the right firm? Blogging, social media, flip cams, You Tube, Facebook and hooking up with other people connected online certainly has to affect PR. Also why do I have to find the PR firm, why don't they find me? Book publisher, Wiley Publications, almost 200 years old, found me here on Huffington Post and sought me out to write my next book First or Last. Maybe I will find an aggressive well-connected PR firm that knows how to blast through all the noise and get the right exposure for me by writing this.

Grant Cardone, Author
and Founder of Virtual Sales Training

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