Here is a list of 10 ways that a PR professional can drive a journalist crazy. After each point, I will indicate what the PR person could/should do instead.
1. Be sure to put in a little extra legwork. A journalists is not looking to do more work than they need to, so if we as public relations professionals provide more information for a story, than they can write more details about the story and will be happy to work with them again. It is good to offer other examples of organizations or individuals that might also be good for the story. Provide links and references to objective, third-party data that validates the points you’re trying to make.
2. Read what they write after you give them a story. By actually reading the ideas and news that were given to the journalist you can tell if they got the main ideas that you were trying to get across or if in the future you need to provide more information. It is important to read and engage with journalists. Let them know that you are interested in getting your clients out in the media.
3. Find out what their actual needs are. A good idea is to go to a conference where journalists are gong to learn more about their techniques and styles of writing. If you learn a lot more about journalism, then you will meet some great media contacts along the way.
4. Do suggest sources that aren’t clients. By using these approach, you can help publicize for family or friends and even small businesses in the area. Although, you don’t work for those people, you are helping a reporter find the best source for a story. It can help build a stronger relationship between the journalists and the PR professional.
5. Don’t hide any information, instead give them the scoop. Whenever you can, give your favorite reporters the scoop on a big story. If a journalists is to get a big news story than they feel like they are in the inner circle and can trust and rely on you for future stories. Remember sometimes one big feature story is worth more than a bunch of new briefs.
6. Don’t bug journalists but make sure to stay on top of their mind. An occasional call to a journalist will not hurt to just inform them what’s going on in your profession. Only because you are looking out for their best interest, a call informing them of a story angle that no one ever thought out maybe a good idea.
7. Help the journalists find work. A lot of journalists are freelancers that work for both media and corporate clients. “What goes around comes around” which means the more you help others, the more likely they will to help you. It can be a two-way street, you shouldn’t feel like you owe them anything, you should just want to do it.
8. Do not give a story to a journalist that is subjective, be sure to only be subjective. By avoiding this type of writing provide extensive briefing and background material to reporters who are not familiar with the topic or the organization. Many times, journalists say that the story is not accurate because of vague details.
9. Do not add the element of hype to a story. A major complain from journalists is that PR professionals do not understand the editorial requirements and format. A good point to remember is think simply. Rather than sending a basket full of details, consider just concentrating on one point to get straight to the story.
10. Avoid the influence of advertising. Advertising raises troubling questions about journalistic ethics and integrity. The editors and reporters on speciality publication loudly proclaim that advertising and consulting assignments don’t affect their editorial judgment, but their protestations seems a bit hollow and hypocritical. Stated in the PRSA Code of Ethics, it states that you should not engage in any activities that would “compromise the integrity of communication channels”