PR agencies are obsessed with bullet points

Look at a PR plan from a PR agency and it will have lots of bullet points.  There will be three key messages displayed as bullets.  There will be three or four key strategies displayed as bullets. There will be a dozen tactics displayed as.. you guessed it.  And so it goes on.  Why the obsession with lists and bullets?  In part because it makes it easier for people to read but mainly because.. well that’s how everyone does it.  But why?  Why are we so obsessed with having these lists?  I may be having a senior moment here, if so please just ignore me but I’m starting to believe that PR agencies lack some serious self confidence. Why do I think this?  Well here are some reasons:

1.  We should have the confidence to have a really great creative idea that marries insight with a perfect message and which naturally lends itself to a tightly defined set of tactics and metrics.  In other words we shouldn’t always need some back up, some other idea just in case the first one fails to get the client excited.  In other words there need not be a number 2.  Now I appreciate that software applications like Word and PowerPoint love bullet points or lists but they’d get used to people not pushing that button I’m sure.

Take a look at that PR plan you wrote for 2010 and ask yourself if you really do need all those messages, strategies, tactics and metrics.  If the answer is ‘yes’ then either you wrote a really insightful or really bad plan.

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One Comment on “PR agencies are obsessed with bullet points”

  1. Ken Shuman says:

    Hi Tim,

    I agree on too many bullets when it comes to key messages but metrics are important. If you come up with good metrics and measurement and then prove success, you will get more resources and support from the organization. This has been my biggest learning curve going in-house after spending 12 years on the agency side.

    PR measurement is not easy. Do you report the volume of clips, NO. Do you talk about how many eyeballs saw the article or the broadcast, MAYBE? Can you draw a direct result to brand searches on your website or are brand searches increasing because the product or service just keeps getting better? I’d love your perspective on measurement and reporting and what works best within organizations.

    Cheers,

    Ken Shuman


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