Never Hire a Bad Billionaire PR Client (Update)

by PR Coach on February 4, 2012

Is PR having a Mark Cuban crisis?

You could see this public relations vs billionaire Mark Cuban crisis coming for miles.

It all started with Cuban’s advice in Entrepreneur.com to startup companies including: “Never hire a PR firm.”

His actual advice, number 11 in his 12-point list, was:
11. Never hire a PR firm. A public relations firm will call or email people in the publications you already read, on the shows you already watch and at the websites you already surf. Those people publish their emails. Whenever you consume any information related to your field, get the email of the person publishing it and send them a message introducing yourself and the company. Their job is to find new stuff. They will welcome hearing from the founder instead of some PR flack. Once you establish communication with that person, make yourself available to answer their questions about the industry and be a source for them. If you are smart, they will use you.”

New York PR pro Peter Himler quickly responded and eloquently showed how Cuban is wrong in a Forbes.com article and on his blog.

My take is that Cuban is wrong on two counts: Never hire a bad PR firm. And don’t be ignorant about public relations Mark. PR is not just media relations. Unless you run your business by bluster and intimidation and use controversy to get headlines. Ahem.

As Himler says a good PR agency doesn’t spam journalists and the best consultants put clients directly in touch with reporters instead of blocking and tackling.

And for those startups who want sound PR advice? PR is not just media relations as millions of clients know. They benefit from corporate and internal communications, investor relations, crisis management, content marketing and social media strategies delivered by savvy PR pros.

You’ll find some sound advice for small companies in my recent post Did They Win Playing PR Blame Game? That startup desperately could have used a solid PR partner.

So here’s my PR advice Mark Cuban. Never hire a bad PR firm. And agencies? Never hire a bad billionaire PR client who would never take wise public relations counsel.

Updates: Mark Cuban Explains Himself

In a Jan 13th post on blog maverick , Cuban explains his comments. Not entirely wrong but still off the mark so to speak.

On Jan 17th, Keith Trivitt posted a PRSA PRSAY interview with Cuban where he added further perspective but stuck to his guns on PR’s lack of value to startups.

Is Cuban smoking a bad PR cigar? His definition of PR is wrong. Or is it? We’d enjoy hearing your opinion in the comments below.

You’ll find more in Bad PR…Bad in our virtual PR Library where we occasionally highlight bad PR examples to share lessons from those who should know better or should do better public relations. You can also get weekly tips and insight by signing up for our blog or getting the RSS feed in your favorite reader.

Author: Jeff Domansky

Photo credit: Proyecto Garaje via Flickr