Bad PR: 13 Signs You’re a PR Zombie

by coach on June 26, 2011

Are PR pros becoming PR zombies?

Are PR pros in danger of becoming PR zombies? We may have reached a tipping point caused by Ataxic Neurodegenerative Satiety Deficiency Syndrome. Seriously.

I’m no longer surprised by others attacking the PR zombies among us. Just look at The Economist, the Bad Pitch Blog and any recent examples of airhead public relations, Bad PR, PR Fails and social media snafus.

Here are 13 sure signs you’re a PR zombie suffering from this contagion:

  1. Your news releases are vapid, coma-inducing, Dead Sea scrolls.
  2. Your blog posts reek with deadly slang, buzzwords and  marketing-speak.
  3. Your spray and pray media pitches have caused reporters to run in every direction, slamming doors, screaming in fear, hanging up the phone and deleting your semi-literate e-mails faster than Lindsay Lohan’s fingers in a jewelry store.
  4. You don’t feed on brains like regular zombies. PR zombies feed on wasted time!
  5. Research and PR measurement are something you approach with the enthusiasm of the walking dead.
  6. Yesterday, you unwittingly blind-copied all 1250 media and client contacts in your Outlook database with your latest, foaming e-mail rant attacking your boss, the local newspaper business editor, a TV anchor with crooked teeth, the loudmouth radio talk show host, your sleazy elected representative and those two clients you can’t stand anymore. Sending out your fellow PR zombies to buy up newspapers is not a strategy.
  7. Your last Tweet went viral. Unfortunately, that picture of your new jockey shorts, with you in them, was only intended for your girlfriend.
  8. Speaking without thinking has become your modus operandi. You stammer through your day using weasel words like “just between us”, “you didn’t hear this from me”, “this is big news”, “you didn’t get my email?” and “sure you can have an exclusive” (fingers crossed).
  9. Your idea of “social media” is a crowd-sourced gathering of other zombies covered in blood, lurching back and forth without purpose. Others call this a news conference or a cocktail party.
  10. You can most likely be found at the Golden Arches flesh-feeding on a Big Mac ravenously before lurching back to your zombie cubicle.
  11. You’re glued to your iPhone, hoping somewhere, somehow, someone will answer your call to tell you PR help is on the way. You don’t care if someone is standing beside you on the subway, in a restaurant or on the sidewalk while you scream at your car mechanic, coworker or your mother-in-law.
  12. You follow cable news and C-SPAN 20 hours every day, staring transfixed at the screen by the mind-numbing neural networks we call TV.
  13. Your PR pitch using a zombie “hook” is a complete success. That’s the one shining light in this ghoulish list. Kudos to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention whose May 16,, 2011 zombie publicity campaign was brilliant and got mentioned by the New York Times.

Can a zombie apocalypse be near? The PR zombies have nearly taken over our village. Thousands of them. Invading us. Communicating in geek speak. Trying to take control of the airwaves. Alienating important stakeholders and the media with morose media pitches, careless communications, twisted tweets and phony Facebook bonhomie.

So, in the case of the Center for Disease Control, it’s okay to be a PR zombie. For the rest of us? Not so much! As the CDC says, the only thing you can do is be prepared to fight back against zombies. Defend yourself from the PR zombies before they finally take over, dragging the rest of us down into the quicksand. Die PR zombies. Die!

What do you think? Are PR zombies taking over. We’d enjoy hearing from intelligent life in the comments below. The truth is out there.

If you’re looking for PR tips to help you from becoming a PR zombie, check out our PR Library. It’s got more than 7200 public relations articles, links, tools and resources and not a sign of blood anywhere. Just watch out for the cranky old librarian. We’re not quite sure if she’s still among the living.

And don’t forget to subscribe to The PR Coach blog or our RSS Feed for very non-zombie like PR tips and insight.

Photo credits: Wikipedia, The PR Coach and Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Author: Jeff Domansky is Editor, The PR Coach

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