To be a successful publicist, you need to be patient, thoughtful, and extremely organized.
Landing the right stories can be an art form and something that does not happen without hard work. A lazy publicist can be a source of irritation for media members, and can give good publicists a bad name.
In the past, our team has shared tips about what makes a great PR pitch, and now we are talking about annoying PR habits that you should avoid in order to stay in the good graces of the media:
Journalists and producers receive hundreds, if not thousands, of email pitches every day, so it is important to value their time and craft your pitches in a way that are easy to understand and straight to the point.
Make sure to include all the necessary information the first time, because sending several follow-up emails with new details will not only be obnoxious, but a surefire way to confuse or fluster the media.
Also be sure to keep track of the responses you get from your pitches, as nothing irritates the media more than a follow-up email on a pitch that they already said no to. Don’t be that person. At 8THIRTYFOUR, we use spreadsheets to document everything.
Being lazy with your placements
While it is acceptable to ask a journalist or producer when your coverage will run, make sure you do your homework and look for the placement yourself. Sometimes mistakes happen, and stories are missed, but asking a journalist when a piece will run when it was posted several days ago will make you seem aloof and disrespectful.
Do yourself a favor and set reminders for the slated run date, bookmark the publication website, and go through print publications with a fine-toothed comb to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Throwing spaghetti at a wall
The amount of time that goes into media research can sometimes be overwhelming. Finding the right journalists or producers whose beats perfectly align with the story you are pitching is no easy task, which means some people like to skip this step and try to “throw spaghetti at a wall.”
Pitching thousands and thousands (and thousands) of people in one day by BCC-ing mass lists of media members and hoping that something sticks is a lazy way to get coverage. For example, sending an email about a new zoo opening to a reporter who strictly covers politics or space travel will roll their eyes when they realize you spent no time researching their previous work.
Forgetting to say “thank you”
Public relations is behind-the-scenes work and sometimes thankless, but that does not mean that you can forget your P’s and Q’s when working with the media.
If someone takes the time to work with you and your client on an in-depth story or news segment, say thank you. Whether it is a quick email or a hand-written note, being polite goes a long way.
Constantly asking for edits that could have been avoided
After a piece runs, a good publicist will review the content several times to ensure there are no errors. Again, publicists are human and mistakes will happen, but if you have to ask media members over and over to make article or segment corrections that could have been avoided, you likely won’t work with them again.
Double check that all information you are sending to the media is correct, and then check it again, before you send it.
Creating and maintaining relationships with different media members, and remembering how they like to be pitched, is something that takes work. If you want to learn more about how positive relationships with the media can move the meter for your brand, get in touch with us today!
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