Do you have a publicist?
Second question… Have you ever said thank you?
PR – for the most part – is a really thankless job in many regards, and so it should be. I have no doubt about that one. I’ve learned some things along the way that are really worth sharing, though, which have to do with those who have the need for not only a publicist, but also a charm school education. I’ve experienced events worth sharing; things to make you think, and have a better handle on those who help you achieve your goals.
I’m going to first cite some examples from my 30+ years of being a publicist.
First, why anyone would need a publicist?
When I was an artist, I couldn’t say to a potential customer, “Didn’t I do a great job?” That would be ridiculous, right? I’d rather follow in Vincent van Gogh’s footsteps and cut off an ear.
That was the best lesson for me, prior to becoming a publicist. I can tell story’s about others, but I can’t tell about my own accomplishments. My accomplishments aren’t ego driven; they’re task driven. I also subscribe to King James Bible verse of “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” I easily trip in clumsy moments. I don’t need any incentives or help in tripping.
I take my accomplishments as a benchmark being met… Nothing more, nothing less. It’s a great feeling to just get ‘er done.
Charm School Drop Out #1
I had one client a long time ago who said to a wine journalist, whom I had brought to his house on a Saturday morning, “I would never allow to have my publicist in a story about me.” The journalist was quietly taken aback, as was I… both of us blinking…
- It was said in my presence, with only three of us being in his kitchen at the time, like I wasn’t event there.
- Bringing this writer to him was never supposed to be about me, so “what was he doing?” I thought.
- He was never written about by this writer, either, because he didn’t pass Charm School 101, I can only imagine.
Charm School Drop Out #2
During a party, when I tried to introduce a journalist to the host, he verbally abused her. She cut him some slack for being under stress. Clients can be trying, and this one was an extreme case. I didn’t cut him any slack, though. He was just rude, I’m only writing this to show how the job can be thankless for all of us along the chain of publicity, including a writer, of all people.
It doesn’t always have to be this way, and for the most part it isn’t. It’s the only solace I have in this story. I didn’t work for him anymore after this event.
Charm School Drop Out #3 (Final)
Each time I got publicity for this one man, he became hard to manage for a while. When the publicity ended up on his desk, it was like the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was reignited again. He’d be as nice as nice could be, until something was published. Then, he’s turn into this man who treated me very poorly… as if he was say, “This is about me, not you… You did nothing for this story. I spent my life developing it!”
Well, he did. No argument there. What he missed in this process, though, are the bridges that he didn’t have before I came into his life. Publicists have back stage passes, which some wine writers like to hold in reserve, even. The passes had dried up for him years before, but I breathed new life into his story. I had one person in that company tell me, “You’ve gotten more publicity for this company in one year, than it’s had in its multiple decades of existence.”
That was a great thank you and much appreciated from my friend Lynn. It didn’t come from Dr. Jekyll, though, so it makes for this example.
The Director of Charm School
This past week, I was just reminded… a man for whom I have the utmost respect, to begin with. I believe the universe delivered him to me for a very specific reason. I had to first pass the above tests (along with others), so I could share these stories with you as examples of what not to do.
It’s also great to have that cherry on the top of a hot fudge sundae, isn’t it… And, it was just delivered.
I have a client who is one of the kindest, most generous men I’ve ever met. I have to credit it to his upbringing. Why I say that is when you’re raised in an environment that challenges you continually, instead of simply nurturing you along the way, it takes a bit longer to understand the basics of Charm School. I won’t mention his name, because he’s so humble that he’ll become really uncomfortable, and I don’t want to do that. I just want to let people in my profession know, princes do exist and they’re willing to thank you in ways that will make you exclaim, “What?!” His personal message of thanks, hand written, and sent to me as a “person,” not as a company performing, and his generosity in ways that I’ve not experienced in the last 33 years of my PR career was like receiving an Oscar.
He told me that I’m an “EXCELLENT writer”… Rarely heard, as I plug away. I’m just doing my job, not looking for applause, but when it comes, it’s delightful.
What a feeling…
Do you have a publicist? Have you ever said thank you to her or him? Would you even consider doing so?
If yes, to all of these questions, you, too, are a prince or princess among princes or princesses. As I’ve said about other things that I’ve witnessed in my life, I’m happy that I lived long enough for this one.