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50- 30- 20...HIKE!
By: Mike Bush
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In the past, I’ve gotten the opportunity to chat with Jason Kintzler, founder of PitchEngine (the article can be found here). TL;DR version: Jason’s a smart guy who’s trying to change the way PR and media work, and change it for the better.

So when he puts together a post about “new rules” of PR, I tend to take notice (and recommend that other flacks do the same).

Or…

I completely miss it, let it sit for nine months before someone else tweets it, and then I find myself wondering what the heck I’ve been reading the last three quarters before frantically scrambling to post on Flack Me as though it is some sort of revelation to me.

This post is the latter.

In Jason’s post, he proposed a 50-30-20 rules for PR professionals:
  • 50% of our focus should be on content
  • 30% should be on influencer relations
  • 20% should be on traditional media relations
If it isn’t obvious, I respect his opinions a lot…but in truth, I think he misses the mark here (a bit).

While traditional media is going through a shift (to put it mildly…not unlike saying “NY recently had a flurry”), I think the limited emphasis on media relations is perhaps too low. Now, if you want to argue that content should be a focus, and that the content should be leveraged as a new form of press release, using company blogs and CEO insights to entice media as opposed to quotes where a CEO claims to be excited*** about a new widget, I’m completely on board.

40%-30%-30% feels a little more accurate to me.

But this shift won’t come from agencies, even those on the cutting edge.

Clients still want to see their names in print (metaphorically…although in some cases, literally), and until those with the budgets start to think of PR as a key cog in an overall content marketing strategy that incorporates both earned and owned media, the idea of 40-30-30 won’t fly.

It’s a challenging time for media and PR alike, and we’re fortunate that there are smart people thinking about what the next iterations of our fields might look like.

But change won’t happen overnight, and to initiate a new approach, agencies will need to purposefully and gradually shift from today’s model (which is probably 30%-5%-65%). And they’ll need to create case studies and materials that show impact across a wide spectrum of goals, ranging from share of voice to market presence on through lead generation.

50-30-20 may one day be the winning formula, but for now, agencies that can get to 40-20-40 will be light years ahead of the pack.

***This is a pet peeve. Quotes should never, EVER have any form of “excited” in them. If you’re putting out a press release about something, you’re excited about it. It’s obvious.


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About the Author
Mike Bush is a PR and Marketing freelancer with more than a dozen years of experience in the field. Find him on and connect Twitter @mikebush or at www.mikebush.nyc. 
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