If reporter is the “worst” job, what can PR pros do to make it easier?

If reporter is the “worst” job, what can PR pros do to make it easier?

Those working in PR today have their work cut out for them.

With changes in the industry such as publications folding and cutting their staffs, technology to keep up with and crisis after crisis striking various industries, many a PR pro may say “Woe is me!” But, if PR pros think they have it rough, consider this piece on the 10 worst jobs of 2015.

Just look what came in at #1—newspaper reporter!

With newspaper reporter coming in at the top of the list--and broadcaster and photojournalist also in the top 10—how can PR pros help? Is there a way we can make life easier for our beleaguered colleagues?

Here are some ideas that come to mind.

1. Keep it brief. Some reporters receive hundreds of email pitches per week! That’s a lot of email! So, when you send your pitch, don’t drone on and on—keep it brief. Get to the point. Speaking of points, bullet points aren’t a bad idea. If it piques their interest, they’ll ask for more.

2. Supply sources. Some companies expect reporters to take their word for how great they are. But, do we really think that reporters will just fall in line and write what we say?

In journalism school, we were taught to be sure to interview at least three sources per story. So, why not make a reporter’s job easier by doing some of that legwork for him or her? Line up sources before you pitch—offer customers, partners, influencers or other third parties who may be a fit. Make sure to vet them prior to offering them—sometimes, a customer who has been happy in the past could currently be having a bad experience, so it may not be the right time to offer them as a source. It’s always a good idea to check, not assume.

3. Provide data. Reporters love data, so why not include some in your pitch? If you don’t have your own, it’s perfectly acceptable to cite someone else’s (just be sure to give the source credit). It adds credibility to your pitch and adds meat to the story.

4. Provide visuals. Visuals matter more than ever in our world of distraction. What can you do to grab someone’s attention quickly? Our attention span is now something like eight seconds. That’s eight seconds! So, offer compelling visuals with your pitch, such as photos, infographics and so on.

5. Honor their time and deadlines. Reporters work hard and are under constant stress. They’re asked to do more and more with less—most newsrooms today are lean and mean. So, when you do have their attention, be sure to respect how valuable their time is. And, remember to honor their deadlines. Don’t keep them waiting. If you promise something, be sure to deliver in a timely fashion.

So, instead of making their jobs even harder, let’s do our best as PR pros to give them a break. Let’s “help them help us” by making it easy for them to see us as a resource to get their jobs done better and faster.

Michelle Messenger Garrett is a public relations consultant, speaker and award-winning writer with more than 20 years of agency, corporate, startup and Silicon Valley experience. She works with clients ranging from small businesses to enterprises such as Adobe and HP, assisting them in crafting and carrying out a PR strategy to help them get the word out, get noticed and increase visibility, prospects and sales.

Photo: Woman writing via Shutterstock

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