Things journalists do that PR people LOVE!
Today, I wanted to add on to that message. As Kim pointed out, there are bad seeds in every industry. But rather than take more time tearing people down and pointing out the things they”re doing wrong, I wanted to put together a list of things I”ve seen journalists do over the course of my PR career that really helps bring a compelling story to light, and builds a lasting relationship.
In other words, “Things Journalists Do That PR People LOVE!”
So, to all of our media friends, here are a few things you might consider to help make your relationship with PR professionals more professional, more enjoyable and more respectful:
1. Return a call/email/social media message.
We get it. You get hundreds upon thousands of pitches a week, all from PR people claiming their story is better than the next. And while we don”t expect you to respond with a thesis about why every story idea we send your way might not be a fit, a simple, “No, thanks” will suffice. You could even set up an Auto-Respond message to let PR people know you”ve received the message and will follow up with them if you”re interested. Believe it or not, most qualified PR people actually do their homework and try to find ways to send you relevant information. We”re here to send you interesting information, not make your life hell.
By responding with a simple yes or no, you condition the PR people sending information your way on how to better send you information in the future.
2. Cultivate a list of trusted PR sources and send them queries when you need information.
do a great job of this. They have a list of PR industry folks and every so often, they send out an email to us letting us know what stories they”re working on, what they need from us, and their deadline. It gives very specific instructions on how they”d like to receive the information, and how they will follow up, if interested.
We”re only trying to help. Give us details on what you”re looking for and when you need it, and we”ll do our absolute best to get it to you. Image and video specifications are also helpful, so we can get you what you need faster, rather than delaying the process. By telling us what you need up front, you cut down on the amount of irrelevant information you receive.
3. Be human.
This should go for everyone. Just be human. Show respect for your fellow woman or man. We know most journalists are underpaid, overworked, and that the media industry has been in a state of flux for the past two decades. But we respect your process and work hard to help make your job easier. A little respect goes a long way. Respect is reciprocal.
4. Do your homework.
Just like you implore PR people to do their homework before pitching you a story, it”s always nice when we can tell you”ve done your homework prior to an interview. We”re happy to assist pulling together company backgrounders, images, B-roll video, key messages and more. But you can make your story that much more compelling when you can bring some new story angles to the table and unique questions to ask.
It”s obvious when a journalist hasn”t done any research on the person their interviewing. PR people can help provide the background, but as a journalist, your readers/viewers/listeners look to you to tell the whole story.
We have some amazing relationships with journalists, people we”ve worked with for many, many years. These are journalists who take pride in their stories, ask thought-provoking questions and don”t just regurgitate everything we send to them.
We”ve also worked with some real jerks, journalists who”ve told us, point blank, “My newspaper doesn”t pay me enough to do more research than what you”re sending to me.” Or they fail to show up for an interview they re-scheduled three times. Or they don”t bother to fact-check a story with key statistics, and then send out incorrect information.
PR professionals and media CAN, in fact, work harmoniously together. It”s been done, it will continue to be done. So rather than writing more blog posts pointing out all the things people on either side of the PR/journalism fence do wrong – why don”t we look for ways we can work together, and learn from one another?
Just a thought……