PR Mistake #2: Not researching the person you’re sending to
In the last blog in this series, we discussed the pitfalls of the follow up call when you’re trying to make a good impression on a journalist and convince them to cover your story.
Another common mistake that came up in the LinkedIn discussion that inspired this blog series is when PRs don’t find out the name of the journalist who covers their particular area. This is often because they are mass sending their press release and want to get it out to a wide volume of people, which means it’s too much effort to research each publication to find out the name of the journalist who personally covers their topic.
Unfortunately, just sending a general press release to a media publication will almost certainly mean it ends up in the wrong place. If a journalist finds a random press release in their inbox and it’s not relevant to the area they cover, it’s likely to go straight into the trash.
Why is it so important to send to the right person?
Again, this all comes down to time, and relevance. A journalist isn’t going to publish a story that doesn’t relate to his or her area of expertise. Adding to the already significant volume of irrelevant emails most journalists receive on a daily basis is only going to irritate them and make it more likely any future emails you send will be disregarded.
Finding out the name of the person who covers a particular area shows you’ve done your homework and that you’re serious about getting your story out there. It also shows good manners and respect, both of which are more likely to help you build good relationships with the journalists involved.
Once you’ve found out who to send your press release to at a particular organisation, make sure you keep up to date. Journalists tend to move around fairly frequently so you’ll have to regularly update your contacts to make sure you’re sending to the relevant people.
Neglecting to send your press release to a specific person is often taken as a sign of laziness and this won’t be looked on favourably by a journalist. A quick phone call to the publication to check the name and email address before you hit send on that press release could mean the difference between getting a story covered or not.