It's not like they haven't got the time...
I have 39 feeds relating to the public relations industry coming into my reader (actually, it's Netvibes, which I simply adore...). OK, so some of these - as the leprechaun often rightly points out - aren't actually about PR itself. They're about blogging widgets and the like...it just so happens they they're written by people who work in the PR industry. But that's an axe to grind for another day.
It struck me this morning, however, that not a single one of these is penned by a PR professional working in-house...none of 'em. Nada. Zip.
Why is that? I mean, it's not like these guys aren't often senior PR people. Many of then will have spent years in agency before moving in-house...something that surely gives them an interesting perspective? They could comment on how agencies run campaigns, manage relationships...piss the client off. It'd be useful and interesting stuff. And if we accept the traditionally held beliefs that the in-house address is No.1 Easy Street, PRville, they should have the time to do it.
This traditionally held belief is, of course, utter bollocks. In fact, if more people in agency understood the in-house role, then I reckon numerous client-agency relationships would be transformed overnight.
I had a very frank conversation with a client's PR manager once. He felt that my team in the agency had something of an attitude problem; that they avoided his calls and evaded requests and felt that he was overly demanding and, frankly, something of a pain in the arse. And he was.
Thing is, he wasn't complaining about that perception per se, he was complaining that my team didn't understand his role - and the pressures he had to face - well enough to know why he was driven to behave like that.
"I think your team perceives that their work stops at me; that I'm my own boss and answer to nobody," he told me. "Here's an example. When we receive a less-than-glowing piece of coverage in a leading trade mag or a national, I guess your team is waiting for a call from me...that the phone will ring and I'll be on it demanding to know, in double-quick time, what the hell happened. And I will.
"The reason I'm behaving like that," he continued, "is because our CEO's office - yes, the man who pays all our bills - is only 25 metres from my desk. He quite often makes that short walk, newspaper in hand, to ask me, "what the fuck am I paying you for, and what the fuck are those poncy PR types in London up to?" That's a fairly direct pressure I have to deal with, so sometimes I pass a bit of that on."
We seem to invest heavily in agency in making our people understand the demands of the media...how hacks work, how they build stories, how these get sub-edited, deadlines...all of which is vital to doing a decent job. We don't seem to invest quite so much in helping our people understand the demands placed upon the in-house team...why, for instance, the deadline for the monthly report is so important, as it then feeds into a management report which helps justify the PR function, its budget, our fee and, hence, all our jobs. Stuff like that. Perhaps we should.
Anyway, does anyone know, though, of a good blog from an in-house PR pro? Anyone fancy starting one..?