Incase you missed it, Catherine O’Mahony took the opportunity to outline some tips for PR people on contacting journalists in yesterday’s Sunday Business Post. Some of these tips should be well known to experienced PR people but for those new to PR, these are a must read. Regardless, getting advice on public relations from a journalist’s point of view never gets old.
- Put new facts and figures at the top of every press release. Any fancier approach is risky; most journalists tend to switch off fast.
- Don’t let clients supply quotes that read like product brochures.
- Nobody really says things like: ‘‘Our innovative business model is best in class and enhances our capacity to deliver real time solutions in an environment where rapidity is valued etc etc etc.” What they mean is: ‘‘We are trying to do something new and we always try to respond fast.” Use smaller words and fewer of them.
- Supply extra contact numbers, especially if it is a tricky subject.
- Presumably, you’ve put what you know in the release. We may now need to speak to a person who is directly involved. If you set up an interview, don’t ‘sit in’. If your client absolutely insists you do, the next best option is to say absolutely nothing.
- Take no for an answer . . . please. Your day will come again.
- Try and bear deadlines in mind. Journalists are not able to focus on your pitch as deadlines loom. That same pitch might be welcome, however, at almost any other time.
- Remember that newspapers and magazines always want pictures.
- Your story will place better with a decent picture. There are virtually no exceptions to this rule. This does not mean you should send in the photograph that was taken with the Taoiseach last month. Or a black-and-white shot.
- Be realistic. If your story is a bit marginal, it’s better to be frank about this.
- Using the word ‘exclusive’ doesn’t help a weak pitch. Your story might still be useful to an editor in a particular context.
- Be creative about feature ideas. Many journalists – with some exceptions, of course – will consider a PR-led feature idea if it is credible.
- If you can provide background facts required to support a feature, even better. Your client can even be part of the story, but should not be the main event.
- Don’t feel you have to be too ‘nice’ to journalists. Nice is fine, but straight is better.
Article in full posted here.