Yesterday afternoon I got back to the office and found an interesting invitation in my email box.
Out of the blue, the Sydney office of Hill & Knowlton was asking me to be part of a panel for a breakfast briefing on blogging that they were planning.
At first my reaction was negative, I must admit. As conditioned as I am to the petty inter-agency rivalries that plague the PR industry, I thought why should I help these guys out. Then I said to myself, 'if these guys are game enough to ask me, well that's good and I ought to respond in the same spirit'. After all, the breakfast briefing (scheduled for later this month or in March) was also pitched to me as being for the "IT marketing and PR community (not just our clients, but genuinely the whole community)."
So I fired off an email accepting with enthusiasm and suggesting a topic (Blogging for PR: tool or transformation) and providing links to some articles I've written on blogging over the last 12 months and offering to cover the topics in any of these articles if they were thought to be of interest to the intended audience.
I got an immediate and positive response. All good so far.
About one hour later, however, I got an email withdrawing my invitation because 'this is an H&K branded event' and management didn't feel 'comfortable with presenting someone from a competitive agency as a speaker at one of our own events'. So much for 'genuinely the whole community'.
I'm OK with that. I can't honestly say that if the positions were reversed I would be inviting competitors to speak at seminars I was hosting.
Yet, it did leave me feeling a little despondent about the PR industry and whether blogging really will make much difference to PR at the end of the day.