These aren't PR tips
Yes, I’m a public relations strategist who writes columns with – hopefully – helpful tips for other PR professionals.
How helpful? I have no idea. I’m sure plenty of people read my articles and think I’m an idiot. That’s fine. They might have a point.
But, I’m also a public relations strategist who reads other articles filled with PR tips.
I certainly don’t know everything and I love learning about how I can do my job better. Do you have a way to help me do my job easier/faster? Please tell me! I love articles with PR tips!
…when they are actually tips…
I’m like every one of you reading this right now. How many times have you taken the click bait of “Top 5 Tips for PR Pros…etc” and scrolled through the bullet points only to be extremely disappointed. I want to learn something new! Giving me the basics of PR or telling me something obvious is a waste of all of our time.
So, here are three things that we can leave off of “helpful” lists of PR tips moving forward.
Research the journalist to find out what they cover before you pitch them.
Oh, hot damn! You mean, I should find out what a journalist writes about or covers before reaching out to them with my client’s story or news? I’m going to need to take the rest of the day off! This is a bombshell! I need to re-think my entire strategy and approach to obtaining media coverage.
What PR person wouldn’t know this? I guarantee there are journalists reading this thinking, ‘they pitch off topic all the time!” Yes, it happens. I’ve done it; we’ve all done it. But, for the most part, we’re pretty close. When you are doing massive amounts of media outreach (like…you know…a PR person does), you’re going to pitch off topic occasionally. But, this is not a helpful tip. We’re all trying to reach media members that cover what we’re looking for.
Don’t send a press release on a Monday or a Friday.
This is another PR tip that is not useful at all. Whether you find this to be true or not, this is an old PR rule and not particularly helpful. There are many people who still subscribe to this theory and that’s fine, but using this as a tip does not provide an “ah hah” moment for any PR professional. This isn’t something that you’re going to feverishly write down on your note pad.
While we’re on the topic, this isn’t really true anymore anyway. We live in a world with email and internet and cell phones and getting responses from media members on Saturdays at times. We’re all connected almost all of the time. Do I plan on sending out releases on Mondays or Fridays? Nope. But, it’s not the end of the world. Journalists are actually working; they’ll get it. And many will ignore us the same exact way that they would Tuesday through Thursday.
Don’t send faxes.
I know what your first thought is: ‘Micah, no one would include this in a list of helpful PR tips!’ Someone did. Recently. I’m not kidding. I saw it with my own two eyes. I can’t remember where and I’m not sure that I want to. Someone thought it would be helpful to point out that PR pros shouldn’t send faxes to journalists.
“The View.” That’s the only media outlet that I can think of off the top of my head that still wants you to fax pitches. Go ahead and check. Unless something has changed in the past few months, “The View” will still request a fax. I spoke to a producer over there not long ago who said, “okay, can you fax that over?” I got off the call and paused for a moment. I thought…’how do I send a fax?’ I honestly don’t know. I have an all-in-one scanner-printer-fax thing, but I don’t know how to use the fax portion. Maybe it doesn’t even have a fax function! HP just puts it on there knowing you’ll never use it!
I did not pitch “The View” and won’t until they change this policy. No one sends faxes. Why would you include this in an article that’s attempting to be useful?
Do you have a “tip” that you’re tired of seeing in lists of PR tips? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and maybe I’ll include it in another article.
A co-founder of Large Media, Inc., Micah Warren has been a public relations strategist for more than 15 years. A published writer with an incredible track record of media placements, Micah has gotten his clients in USA Today, Fox Business Network, Bloomberg TV, Inc.com, CNBC.com, The Daily Caller, The NY Times, The NY Post, Esquire, Maxim magazine, ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” ESPN.com , Askmen.com, GQ, BBC, Reuters and many other newspapers, television shows, radio networks, websites and trade publications.
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