T.O.W 13

10 Ways that PR people can sometimes drive journalists crazy

1.Too many unsolicited e-mails, faxes, and phone calls.

The easiest way to fix this problem is to not do these things. Journalists need to make their pitch or contact through one of the following media. If the journalist doesn’t get back to right away or ever, don’t continue contacting them because it will most likely end with you losing out on that journalist as a contact.  You should be polite in whatever way you contact them and let them follow-up on the story, etc.

2.  PR professionals are unfamiliar with the editorial requirements and format.

The best way to learn requirements and format is to ask. Contact the journalist,  the newspaper, or media outlet and ask about what they prefer for format and what they require.  This is going to help build relationships instead of tear them down.  Once you have an understanding of what they are looking for, the best thing to then do is practice using the information and help others in your PR firm to understand it to build relationships and also you will have a better chance of having your material published.

3. PR professionals don’t know the product or service.

The only way to know the product or service is to learn about it. PR professionals should be familiar with what they are selling and pitching prior to pitching a story to journalists. It says “if you don’t care for the product, why should we?” to the journalists. Study the product or service enough to be able to answer the basic questions and develop you’re opinion of it to explain it and be able to write on it.

4.  Repeated phone calls and follow-ups.

This is along the same lines as number 1. Once you make your pitch, it’s unnecessary to continue calling and following up on your story. You need to allow the journalist to do their job and make the right choices on when to publish or to publish at all. More than likely, your story won’t get published due to repeated follow-ups. It’s all about developing a relationship. Once you place the ball in their court, let it be and it will probably work out in your favor.

5. Spokespersons not available.

This should never be the case for a pr professional. Once a story or some form of communication is made, someone should always be available to get in contact with. That is the job of a pr person to be there to answer questions and speak to journalists with questions or comments.  It may be best to contact the journalist and tell them “I will be available between this time and this time if you have any questions.”

6. Don’t meet publication deadlines.

There is an easy way to solve this problem, find out when deadlines are. When you speak with the journalist, ask them when the story is due.  Once you decide on a date with publication, write the date down and make sure both of you agree on a time.

7.  Mistakes in the article which include factual, spelling errors, and improper formatting.

The best thing a pr professional can do is check, check, and double-check their work. They need to review it a few times for any type of mistakes and have someone else read it to make sure every area is covered. This saves you embarrassment is something is wrong in the article and it makes things run much smoother with the journalist.

8. Advertising influence can be a problem

It’s hard to pitch and have it be “for sale” but maintain ethical standards. ( Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques.)  But as difficult as it may be, try not to advertise too much in your work. It’s best to leave the writing to journalists and find other ways to advertise such as going through the advertising department.

9. Never question a journalist’s editorial judgement. It’s their domain. (http://www.contently-managed.com)

Everyone knows their fields the best, but sometimes it’s hard to see the line that you cross when falling over to the other side.  So, be mindful that journalist’s know what they are doing. Once you’ve done your job, let them do theirs and trust that they know what they’re doing; because they do.

10.  Make sure your press release is never more than two-sided.

You’re press release shouldn’t be to long which can cause problems for journalists. Two sides long is roughly 800 words which is a page lead for most which all you really need. Talk to the journalist and make sure you know your proximity of writing.



Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques

This entry was posted in COMM 4333, T.O.W 4333. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to T.O.W 13

  1. mbboulware says:

    Haha, Jeni your very first sentence made me laugh. You said, “The easiest way to fix this problem is to not do these things.” I agree with you though! Some people make stupid mistakes without even giving it a thought. Some, though, don’t realize that it’s annoying to journalists. That’s why it’s good that people like you blog to tell them about it! I can see how all of these things can be annoying to them. Especially not meeting deadlines. I also think number nine is especially true. I would feel bad if someone questioned my professionalism if I were them. Unless there’s a legitimate reason of course.

  2. Pingback: Comment List: « Mallory Boulware

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