Ryan Holiday, the author of “Trust Me, I’m Lying,” has acted like a jerk. His new book, “Trust Me, I’m Lying,” is layered with lots of controversy and exaggeration, which creates a lot of buzz, which in turn sells lots of books. He knows what he's doing.
But still, beyond the hyperbole and the slimy PR practices he shares in the book, Holiday makes a simple and important point that marketers, public relations practicioneers and communication pros of all types need to understand:
Modern journalism faces extreme time and money pressures.
Not really earth-shattering when you strip it down, right? Pretty obvious? But understanding and accounting for this truth will pay dividends for ethical PR pros. With so much competition, a shrinking revenue base, and a relentless 24/7/365 news cycle, speed is increasingly important. Speed drives pageviews. Pageviews drive ad revenue.
With that in mind, you will be a better partner to journalists and advocate for your company or clients if you follow three basic rules:
- Be targeted. Pitch-spamming to uninterested journalists wastes your time, your money (and/or your client’s money) and hurts you if you have a relevant pitch for a journalist later on. Know your journalists and bloggers. Know their audience. Pitch narrowly and don’t boil the ocean.
- Be concise. Provide as much information as that journalist needs to do their job and not one word more. No one has time to wade through your poorly written and/or edited pitch.
- Be ethical. Integrity is necessary to build the trusted relationships with journalists that will help create the coverage you need to meet your goals. If you aren't ethical, you'll eventually be blacklisted.
So grab a barrel-sized shaker of salt and apply it liberally as you read “Trust Me, I’m Lying.” But you should read it. For the ethical marketer or PR pro, there are lessons to be drawn about how to be a better partner to journalists and more effective professional.