A while ago I wrote a blog post on how PR firms really need to do their research when it comes to dealing with journalists.
I really would like to speak to a roomful of PR bosses and ask them exactly WHY they think their strategy of blindly spamming journalists with rubbish, or phoning to ask if a press release can be sent, is so favoured in their training methods.
Let me update you all here and now. IT IS BLOODY ANNOYING and IT DOESN'T WORK.
So here are my five top tips for really annoying journalists - just so you can insert them in your training manuals.
1. Call and ask if "I have five minutes to talk through a press release" before sending it anyway. No. I don't. That is the beauty of email. if it is of interest, rest assured I or the editorial team will be in touch pretty sharpish.
2. Call and ask "if I got your press release last week" and whether "it was of any use". Clearly if it was sent a week ago, and you haven't heard anything, then no. It was not of interest.
3. Get the jounalist's name wrong. The clue is in the email address. For example, my name is SARA, but the amount of people that write 'Dear Sarah' are too many to list. I couldn't care less if IBM had just bought Microsoft - anyone that gets my name wrong is instantly deleted.
4. Call and launch straight into a press release pitch - basically reading off a sheet and not actually trying to put it into context for the publication/website you are calling. Then when being asked the relevance, make something up and hope for the best. Seriously. DO SOME RESEARCH.
5. Finally, and this is the best one. When there is something of interest, make sure either there is no-one in the office to answer questions/arrange interviews. And ALWAYS make sure you NEVER have a headshot of the spokesperson from the company in question.
As I've said before, I know people are just doing their jobs, but the methods being employed are outdated, unhelpful and just succeed in winding most journalists up.
Give me another six months, and I'll probably be writing something very similar again.
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