5 Mistakes PRs Make That Annoy Journalists

POSTED: November 3, 2017 BY: CATEGORY:

Public Relations are a great way to get free exposure for your brand and if you can successfully get a mention in a major publication, the results can be dramatic. When it comes to being successful at PR, it’s all about getting the attention of the journalists who work at your target publication and this can be tricky, especially if you don’t have a lot of PR experience.

If you want to have any chance at getting your story published, you’ll need to get on the right side of the journalists in charge of that area. Unfortunately, even the most well meaning PRs can often end up irritating the very people they need to get on side, often without even realising.

I recently stumbled across an eye-opening conversation on LinkedIn where a number of journalists and media professionals discussed some of the most annoying things that PRs do when trying to get a story published. I thought I would share some of their insights here, as they may be helpful to anyone who’s involved in PR on behalf of a brand. Many of the complaints are not what you’d expect, starting with the first and most commonly mentioned – the follow up call.

What do you do when faced with the all too common scenario where you send a carefully crafted press release to a journalist at a well-known publication, and you get…nothing? For many of us, the obvious thing to do is pick up the phone and call the journalist to check they received it and draw their attention to it if they haven’t seen it yet. Unfortunately, follow up calls are generally not well received. This could be for a number of reasons, including:

  • The journalist is busy and/or on deadline and doesn’t have time to talk. They may also resent the interruption if they are trying to focus on finishing a particular story.
  • They have seen your press release and already decided it’s not relevant to their area of expertise.

In either of these scenarios, an unsolicited phone call is not going to be welcome or particularly well received. The only time a follow up call might be acceptable is if you already have a good relationship established with the journalist in question.

During the LinkedIn discussion, the general consensus appears to be that journalists have an insane amount of emails to deal with and if your media release is relevant and they are interested, they will call you. Repeatedly calling to follow up is more likely to get you to the bottom of the list than get their attention and inspire them to cover your story.

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#Jo Macdermott - turning good businesses into great businesses is all in a day’s work for marketing consultant, Jo Macdermott. Jo leads Next Marketing, a multiple award winning business, which she has grown from scratch. Jo is commercial, empathetic and always has her eye on the end game.