Do It Yourself

Guy Kawasaki’s buddy, Glenn Kelman, the CEO of online real estate brokerage Redfin, has written an eleven-point treatise on DIY public relations.
His sixth point about going agencyless in this brave new interworld is well fashioned:

6. Most publicists feel threatened by the Internet’s systems of attribution, glorification and punishment, where Digg can make an obscure posting more important than the evening news. Agencies don’t have the street cred, the technical chops, the instinct for candor, the distinct voice and, above all, the commitment to speed to engage in a meaningful conversation with the blogosphere. (emphasis added) In the thick of things, you don’t want to have to coordinate with consultants or get permission from anybody.

Kelman makes other good points as well. Like “the Rolodex is already online,” “you don’t have to seem all grown-up and boring,” and “let the fur fly.”
With all due respect, Edelman’s Steve Rubel ain’t havin’ it. He says:

There is a significant cost to doing your own PR. For starters, time. It takes a lot of time to understand all of the various professional and citizen media venues, how they tick and what will make your story stand out. If you’re selling shampoo then you’re one of 50+ brands on a shelf. How do you differentiate yourself? This is where the pros come in and shine. Our experience and network of relationships can expedite the process to helping to build your brand, not to mention prepare you for potential crises. You won’t get that on your own.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. I wouldn’t say all agencies are slow to speed, maybe just the big shops. There are more than enough smaller agencies who get this new-fangled ‘interweb’ thing.

  2. Ian Armstrong says:

    Seriously? Times change. This isn’t the first time the world has tried to declare ad agencies dead. If necessity is the mother of invention then most great ideas are born on the brink of failure.
    So we have a choice, we can either throw our hands up in the air and let non-professionals try to replace agencies (google the “hype cycle” and decide where we are in this) or be a leader in figuring out the new paradigm.