Our industry is chock full of platitudes.
The problem is, behind the easy drinkin’ rhetoric, there’s more to the story.
Here are 6 common platitudes and what people tend NOT to tell you about them:
- Platitude: “Spin sucks,” or “Spin is bad and ultimately hurtful”
- What “they” don’t tell you: Spin may suck, but when the truth seems odious, unpalatable or liable to kill the bottom line, spinning can seem pretty appealing. That’s why most companies/politicians/humans do it every damn day (at least a little).
- Platitude: “Engage,” or “Join the conversation”
- What “they” don’t tell you: Engagement is great. So, too, is talking. But, absent a sound strategy, chatter and interaction never fed anyone or their families.
- What “they” also don’t tell you: You have to talk for a long while for “engagement” to pay off. Even then there’s plenty of other factors – such as when, where and how you talk – that can screw up your plans.
- Platitude: “Jargon is bad,” or “Speak in jargon-free language”
- What “they” don’t tell you: When people know a lot about something, or care passionately about it, they tend to assume others do too. The result is jargon-laced rhetoric. Getting it out of official communications is freakin’ hard, and usually requires the presence of good PR counsel.
- Also worth noting: PR people often say they hate jargon. Beyond DUMB! Jargon, and its crusty mother-in-law “Shitty Writing”, keep us fed. I love ’em both.
- Platitude: “The media is not the enemy”
- What “they” don’t tell you: While the media is not the enemy, journalists can be a highly irksome lot. It’s understandable, since their profession places great value on behaviours that would otherwise be dubbed “anti-social.”
- Platitude: “Print is dead.”
- What “they” don’t tell you: While print media is experiencing serious change, it’s still a force; usually a bigger force than some “big” blogger or “specialty” website. Get a client in the local daily, let ’em see their beautiful mug on dead tree parchment and you’re not liable to get kicked in the teeth (especially after they check Google Analytics). People love shit they can frame and stick on a wall somewhere.
- Platitude: “Mom bloggers are a critical target for most companies.”
- What “they” don’t tell you:You can’t argue with this. No doubt the monetization of motherhood (and fatherhood) via blogs is now a fait accompli. However, two things about the “Mommy segment” are worth noting: 1) The bloggers are increasingly in it to get free stuff and 2) If you give them free stuff – even if it’s crap – they tend to say it’s great.
Got anything to add here?