Have I told you how much I hate PR folks? I don’t mean that I slightly dislike them, but really detest them in a deep and profound way. They’re the leaches of YouTube and creators have to be careful when dealing with them.
If you’re going to be dealing with vendors then you’ll be dealing with their PR departments. New media generally falls into the category of client facing communication where PR folks feel that they should have a say. Marketing departments can buy billboards, banner ads, and print ads with little interference from PR, but as soon as you bring new media into the mix the PR people show up like annoying little puppies trying to pee on everything. Since content creators do not create prepackaged sanitary messages the PR people feel that they have to make sure that the brand is not disrespected.
To a point this is to be expected. Where it goes off of the rails is the fact that most of these “PR” folks should barely be called professionals. Twenty somethings straight out of college are tasked with new media because there is a belief that the kids know this stuff better than the older folks. The young’ins know how to talk and act and be part of the hip crowd. The problem is that most content creators are only “hip” in front of the camera. There is a ton of tedious crap that goes into creating content that takes our energy and focus. Having kids pop up talking about how cool it will be to connect you with a brand and espousing the magic that will happen is just tiring. “How much are you willing to pay? What do you want? What’s your time frame?”
“You know… Take the time you need, but we do have a schedule. Money? Hey we’re going to take over the world, but we don’t have much right now. THINK OF THE EXPOSURE! What do we want..? You know you’re the best at this. You tell us what we should want, and then we’ll tell you what we think.”
So they don’t know their schedule. They haven’t spent an hour figuring out what they want. And… AND… They really think “exposure” somehow will pay the bills. Long story short… they’re barely out of college, not getting paid much, and don’t really have any pressing priorities. Just like you!
The worst part is the spam. Here’s the thing… I showed a particular side of my personality on my videos. Many people liked it, and many people hated it. It was my shtick and I was fine with it. It was beyond frustrating to be contacted by PR folks who would rave about my content. They would say they were a long time follower, and loved what I do. Then… after I did the review or whatever else… they would lose their minds because I treated their company just like I treat every other company… I was a harsh, snarky, pessimistic, bastard. 5 YEARS of content telling my subs to get the hell out, and then the PR people are shocked I didn’t softball their product.
When dealing with vendor PR you have to take them as what they are. They are unprofessional kids who don’t understand their industry nor yours. When dealing with these people you have to be blunt about what you require, and stick by your demands. If you feel like the conversation is sliding into time waste territory then cut the call short. When you’re new you feel special and cool when the PR contacts start coming in. After a short period of time you’ll learn to dump most in the spam bin.
True Story Time:
I was on a Skype with PR people from Intel. These were full fledged Intel employees and to get an understanding of whether I really cared about Intel they asked which products I most appreciated. I started waxing lyrically about Edison, Galileo and JARVIS. I was really getting into it when I stopped… looked at them… and said, “You have no idea what I’m talking about do you?” at which point the two shook their heads and sheepishly admitted they didn’t. INTEL!!!! F’ING INTEL PR DOESN’T EVEN KNOW THEIR OWN PRODUCTS!!!