Here are some real life cases that just make a PR professional want to scream.
1) I opened up a trade magazine to a section devoted to a particular sector of an industry. I looked for my client, a leader in that sector, and they were nowhere to be found. I called up the editor to ask what gives, why did he leave my client out? He tells me that we called and left several messages with my client, but that my client never returned his calls. So I get on the phone to my client and asked about the calls, thinking to myself that there must have been a breakdown in communications and he never received the messages. It turns there wasn’t a breakdown, my client had received the messages, but he was ‘busy’ (yeah right, for over a week!) and just didn’t get around to returning the call. OMG – You’ve got to be kidding!!
2) A client is holding a special event for underprivileged children and wants to get some publicity. I told them that I’ll send out the release listing them as the contact and to expect to get phone calls. The next day, I asked how many calls he had received. He says, “One.” I say, “Only one? That’s odd.” And he says, “Well, after the first call I didn’t feel like talking to anyone else so I turned off my phone.” AHHHH!!!
3) I did a little pro bono work for a charter school whose charter was up for renewal so they wanted to get some publicity before their hearing. So I send out a news release that draws the attention of National Public Radio. They contacted the principal because they wanted to come to the school and do some interviews with teachers. The principal's response, “Oh, I can’t have that! It would be too disruptive for the students.” JUST SHOOT ME NOW!
Unfortunately, these are just a few of my stories like this. For all the good work that PR pros can do for their clients, the clients can still be their own worst enemy and in just a few seconds take all your good work and flush it right down the drain. So if you’ve ever had something like one of these happen to you, you are not alone. And when it happens to you the first time, rest assured, it won’t be your last.