Michelle Sullivan Communications

Take my advice: when a journalist or blogger vents, listen.

Aurelie Alaume is completely right. The capacity to listen is definitely an important quality for any PR practitioner to master. Luckily for us, never has listening been easier than in the age of social media. So let’s get into the habit of it. When someone vents about us and our industry, let’s pay attention.

The following blogs are in my Google reader and, presuming you’re a media relations practitioner interested in being effective and successful, should be in yours as well:

Pro PR Tips – this blog by tech and business journalist Rafe Needleman (currently editor at CNET) is a list of very practical short and sweet words of wisdom to PR types. Needleman’s project started on Twitter before moving to the blog and even to an online book format.  Listen to Sam Whitmore’s interview with Rafe here.

Dear PR Flack: rants about bad PR pitches by bloggers. Maybe if we all follow their advice and pleas for better practices, they’ll change the name of their blog and start writing about sunflowers and puppy dogs (we can only dream). Trust me, it will be painful to read through these blog posts, particularly if you’re guilty of having done something similar or if you care anything at all about our industry’s reputation. Some blog post titles that stick out like a sore thumb (literally) include ‘Amateur’ does not mean ‘gullible sucker’ and How’s the glass house? I have to say, this one personally resonates with me (you know who you are). For those of you who are as masochistic as I am, the Dear PR Flack’s pleasure-pain experience continues on Twitter.

The Bad Pitch Blog: the grandfather of blogs in this category. Founders Richard Laermer and Kevin Dugan have been ranting about bad pitches and demanding that PR elevates itself to new levels since January 2006. Hat tip to the masters of the form. Sign up for Wednesday’s « Bad Pitch Night School (during the day) » teleseminar here.

Of course, not everyone appreciates the feedback. Let’s play a little game. See if you can spot what’s wrong with this blog post about Dear PR Flack and how it can explain why feathers were ruffled. Deservedly so.

These blogs and Twitter feeds all represent generosity at its best. Free advice from the people you’re trying to reach to help you do your job better. Take my advice. Pay attention.