There are many ways that public relations people drive journalists crazy.
From a personal standpoint I can say that I have personally have conflicts with a journalist, my journalism teacher! Being in public relations we are tought a different way of writing, more persuasively than journalists who have the goal to remain objective.
I know that I have gotten bad grades for using adjectives because I am so used to it for public relations!
The top 10 ways are probably:
1) TOO MANY HYPE WORDS:
Journalists receive tons of news releases containing “too many” hype words like “unique,” “revolutionary,” “sophisticated,” “state-of-the-art,” etc. They feel that they sound too much like commercials and find publicists incompetent and a survey in PR Week said that over 50% of journalists said that “poorly written materials” is a major problem of public relations people.
2) NEWS RELEASE SPAM:
Some journalists “blacklist” or block some public relations professionals who mass e-mail unsolicited news releases constantly because they get so annoyed. – A way to overcome this one is to be creative with your news releases so that they catch the attention of the editor some examples from our book were:
a new lightbulb and a lamp to test it in, and two volleyballs with details of a press event announcing a volleyball league.
Some say it is a waste of time but at least 16% said it worked and gained attention. Another way would be to not mass e-mail your press releases call and inform a journalist who would be interested in your topic of it and then e-mail it to them.
Journalists tend to feel that public relations writers are biased because they work for the company they are writing about many times and will only want to talk about them in a good light.
According to Professor Carr, my journalism teacher a way to avoid this is to tell both sides and avoid using adjectives.
4) NOT KNOWING THE PRODUCT:
Many journalists tend to feel that there is not enough research that goes into public relations writers stories about products. Cure? Do more research before you pitch something!
5) REPEATED CALLS AND FOLLOW-UPS:
Journalists do not like being harassed by public relations people who call them all the time asking about the news releases they sent them. They are busy and if they like your release they will edit it and use it.
So do not call constantly call them maybe once and let them know you sent them a release and you appreciate their time if they use it or not. Maintain a nice friendly relationship.
6) SPOKESPERSONS BEING UNAVAILABLE:
Self explanatory. If you are a spokesperson for a product or you write about a product and list a spokesperson as a contact make sure either you or the spokesperson will answer the telephone for whatever number you use or use another contact.
If not, your release may not get published because they cannot reach the contact.
7) NOT MAKING DEADLINES:
Journalists have deadlines and they depend on public relations people as much as they may not want to. So, if you want them to keep publishing things that you need in the media then find out when they have to have the article or release ready to send to the editor and make their deadline!
8) SLOPPY REPORTING:
Reports being incomplete or vague is also another complaint. To avoid this when interviewing executives of companies:
- educate them about how the media operate and how they need to be objective so other sometimes unfavorable viewpoints will be in the story
- train execs to give 30-second answers to questions
- provide background to reporters who are unfamiliar with the company
- familiarize execs with basic news values like that people like reading about conflict, drama, and obstacles
do not lie and always be truthful in everything you write and say. Also, remain true to your word, if you tell a journalist that you are giving them an exclusive do not give it to anyone else.
10) NO COMMENT AND OFF-THE-CUFF REMARKS:
Journalists do not appreciate answers like “no comment” or “yes” elaborate and answer their questions fully and honestly. Also, do not say something to a journalist that you would not want repeated or printed.