I just opened today's online issue of PR Daily and clicked on a story titled "5 bad PR practices that will frustrate journalists." Even after 35 years in this business, I figure I can always learn something.
So here are the 5 tips...
1. No one home. Sending a release out and not having someone ready and available to talk to a reporter about it.
2. Spinning the news. I hate the word spin. But this tip is telling us not to try to hide bad news by burying it in the midst of good news. Reporters aren't stupid.
3. Flat-out lying. I'll say it again... reporters aren't stupid. Lie once and you'll never get their attention again...rightfully so.
4. No homework. This tip refers to checking to see if your story idea has already been used. It's not always easy, but it's our responsibility to know what's being reported in the media we are targeting.
5. Sly pitching. This tip refers to sending the same pitch to more than reporter at the same media outlet. If tight timing doesn't permit sending a pitch to one at a time, then you should clearly indicate that you are sending to others at the outlet, by saying so or clearly indicating in the cc: line of your email.
All good tips, but here's the sad thing --
Shouldn't any PR person with more than a month of experience already know these basics? One would think so, but I am willing to bet there are many people at agencies who just don't know this stuff. They haven't been trained or, worse yet, they've been shown the ropes by a hack who regularly ignores these common sense rules.
So while the 5 tips seem painfully basic and obvious, I suppose they may not be to some and thus bear repeating.