Earlier this week, two of my coworkers showed up to the office wearing the same exact dress, and of course they were both horrified. However, this got me thinking about how important recognizing individuality in ourselves and others is to our ability to feel seen and heard, as well as our ability to see and hear others.
There is a reason showing up in the exact same outfit is a fear that most women have — it invites scrutiny and side-by-side comparison — someone always feels like the other person looked better wearing the same exact outfit. While it may feel safer to some extent in a larger group dressed alike, it gets much harder to get noticed.
Let’s imagine 20 people show up to a party wearing the same dress. Okay, how about 75? Because that’s the number of PR people AdWeek‘s Digital Editor, Brian Morrissey, estimates exist for every journalist in his recent interview in the Bad Pitch Blog and from the way he describes it, a bad pitch being like porn — you know it when you see it, most of us are still showing up in journalists’ overstuffed inboxes clamoring around in the same dress.
If you didn’t catch that estimate, know this: According to Brian, the best thing PR people can do is “Recognize that media organizations are shrinking while PR is growing.”
If you’re in PR and that estimate doesn’t strike fear in your heart, well, it should. What that means is that the old, impersonal methods of pitching won’t work anymore. Sure, people with 20 years experience that have already established rapport will still be able to pick up the phone (with reduced success), but anyone new to the field will not.
Despite his reputed dislike for PR people, Brian succinctly summarizes a major challenge that many seem unwilling to face, “What it means for PR people is your job is harder. The best PR people I know simply connect me with people that can help me. They know what I cover, what I don’t and how their clients do and do not fit. That means a lot more work before the email and the call. It also means knowing when to get out of the way.”
What that means for most of us is that we have to take off the same old dress and establish new ways to connect and get people talking about our clients and the organizations we represent. There simply isn’t enough ink to go around, or even enough Web real estate for mainstream digital publications because there aren’t as many people typing these days on their dime. Period.
Now what? What are you doing to be creative? How do you propose to get people talking about your company/organization? What still works? What are you doing to set yourself apart?
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