I just hung up with an editor who spoke with me very sternly when he heard I did public relations.
**I’m used to PR skeptics as, in college, there was always this holier-than-thou attitude the journalism students had toward the PR students who, as far as they’re concerned, were morally bankrupt sell-outs who wanted to spin the truth to make money. ** (I’ll correct that view in a later post!)
However, this guy was forward with me, spouting out a list of do’s and don’ts of which any good PR professional is already well aware:
1. “If you send me an email and I see that you sent it to a big list of people, I won’t touch it.”
** Because then it’s no longer special. If I want to be cool and different, I’m not going to buy the same outfit all the other girls are wearing. And if you try to make me, I’ll assume you’re just trying to make a buck, and you don’t care whether it’s my style.
Solution: target your media based on the story, send personalized notes with the release whenever possible, and always, always use BCC when you have to send to a big list.
2. “I get hundreds of press releases a day, so you have to call me to make sure I saw it.”
** Yup. My inbox buries emails all the time, so I can’t imagine what it would look like if I were an editor.
Solution: Always do follow-up calls.
3. We prefer exclusive stories. We’ll definitely look at it if it says “exclusive.”
**No shit. Everybody likes to have what no one else does.
Solution: Give a publication exclusivity whenever possible. You’ll strengthen your relationship with that publication and probably get way better coverage.
While the conversation with this naysayer was mildly offensive, I appreciated his honesty- had I not already known these things, it would have been extremely helpful.
Also, it made me proud of myself. If he felt the need to share these tenets right of the bat, there must be lot of people out there screwing them up. It’s good to be reassured that I’m doing it right. =)