Are We Guilty?

Katie Paine, author of KD Paine’s PR Measurement Blog, wrote an entry over the weekend about “Real Stories Vs. Messaging.”  The whole idea is that she’s so inundated with messaging – in the form of eNewsletter, Facebook posts, twitter updates and more, there’s no time to realistically get through it all.  She ends up gravitating towards material that has significance to her.

I wholeheartedly agree that just because an eNewletter goes out, does not mean people read it.  Just because a story was placed in the newspaper, doesn’t mean every subscriber read it.  Are we, as PR people, guilty of perpetuating the messaging deluge just so we can justify our existence?  It’s easy to keep throwing things out there in case one of them sticks – but at some point, we need to check back in with reality. 

Just like it’s easy to get caught up in the social media phenomenon, it’s easy to buy in to the logic of “more content = more eyeballs,” even when we ourselves don’t even have time to read the stack of newspapers collecting dust on our desks. 

The post was a good reminder for me to take a step back, continue to look for newsworthy opportunities that are legitimately newsworthy, search for content that’s actually relevant and to not be a content upchucker (yes, that’s a new phrase!) — even if it means going against the marketers’ dictate.

It’s hard, though, not to get caught up in the cycle, don’t you think?



  1. “Are we, as PR people, guilty of perpetuating the messaging deluge just so we can justify our existence?”


    I’m not accusing you. I’m joining you in admitting that PR people and many other people are all out there, still shouting in the traditional advertising mode to get attention. Social media just gives us all another way to do it.

    Kudos on stepping up to realize this. I’m sure that if we all looked at our communication opportunities with this perspective, we’d have a little less message clutter, and we’d probably still have just as many “eyeballs” on your message. But, the difference would be that we’ll start getting the _right_ eyeballs on our messages!

  2. You’re right, of course (hanging my head a little). But maybe collectively we can start practicing what we know to be true. It won’t happen overnight, and not everyone will stop the pestering – but at least I’ll know I’m doing it the way I know to be right. Thanks for your thoughts, Christy.

  3. I think once you start asking this question, your thinking and PR practice change, too 🙂 So even if you were guilty at some point, you probably won’t be guilty anymore. It’s the way the practice is going, and once you get a clue, you won’t go back. There are people out there who truly deeply care about whatever it is you’re trying to communicate about. Those are not eyeballs, they’re people eager to engage with your product/brand. The nice thing is, now it is possible to find them and connect with them.

    They’re something to be said about eyeballs to, without them, you will have a hard time raising awareness in the first place. I think you might enjoy this post on the topic: or:

  4. Thanks, Mihaela. I will definitely check that link out.

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