I’m sure there has been a fair few posts on this in the past, but it is something that continues to be discussed between myself and colleagues, if only in a tongue in cheek manner.
So what is the PR’s perfect journalist?
The easy answer could be ‘the one that publishes everything I send them’.
But I’m not sure that it is as simple as that. I can envision that should that ever happen the already declining state of journalism would slip even further.
And after all, it’s nice to have to fight (at least a little) for that key piece of coverage and know that you’ve done a good job for your client.
So, here’s my vision of the perfect journalist – if you have anything to add, or indeed take away – leave a comment and let me know!
1. HONEST TO THE POINT OF RUDENESS
I’m not adverse in the slightest to a bit of rudeness – and many journalists have a reputation as being a bit surly. But honesty really is the best policy when it comes to PRs. If we send you a press release, and it’s not of use, replying with a simple ‘NO’ would save everyone involved so much hassle, not to mention eliminating the need for those annoying ‘did you receive my press release….’ phone calls.
2. FEEDBACK IS WELCOME
There is one regional journalist I work with on a regular basis who is well versed in the above, but is in fact one of my favourite journos. They nearly always reply when they receive a press release – whether it’s ‘great story – thanks’ or ‘too weak, not using it’. It’s all valid feedback and will help us to define what to send you next time.
3. VALUE OUR SKILLS
Although of course there are some (very) bad PRs out there, many of us are ex journalists, or have been working in the industry for years and know what works and what doesn’t. Journalists who take the time to get to know their decent local PRs are the ones that benefit from exclusive stories, tailored features and being offered the first bite at the cherry when something really good comes along.
4. DON’T MAKE PROMISES YOU CANT KEEP
If you don’t know when you can use the story – don’t make up a date – just say you don’t know! The worst thing is telling a client when to expect coverage and then having to explain, tail between your legs, when the coverage doesn’t appear.
5. DON’T PRETEND YOU HATE US THEN BEG FOR STORIES
Everyone knows that there is a love hate relationship between PRs and Journalists, but the fact is, and apologies for sounding like a naff 80’s film, but we need each other. You get some great stories from (some of) us and in return we get great results for our clients. Nurture relationships with a few key PRs and you’ll always have someone who will go out of the way to get a story for you when you’re suffering from the dreaded ‘slow news’ day.
6. TELL US WHAT YOU WANT
Need a case study or a quote from a reputable source? Contact us! If we haven’t got the clients ourselves, if we’ve got the time we’ll try and point you in the right direction. After all, the ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ approach is always going to work.
7. WE’RE NOT PSYCHIC
There are a million posts out there that say you shouldn’t phone a journo, you shouldn’t send attachments on emails, and you shouldn’t do this, that or the other. But the fact is everyone is different and if it’s a PR you’re going to be dealing with on a regular basis tell them how you like to be communicated with. Do you prefer emailed press releases, a short synopsis or a phone call outlining the story? Perhaps you even prefer a Tweet or a Direct Message? The best PRs will listen and make sure they do what works best for you.