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The dos and don’ts of working with journalists
A few years ago, I decided to ‘go over to the dark side’ and went from being a journalist, to a PR professional. And along the way, I learnt that the relationship between PRs and journalists can be one fraught with peril.
We call journalists ‘hacks’, and they kindly reciprocate by calling us ‘flacks’. But when it comes down to it, we both need each other. One possibly more than the other, but each side will argue which.
So from experience, I have come up with a quick list of dos and don’ts for PRs. This is of course not a complete list, there are many other things you should and shouldn’t do, some go without saying, but here are my top five from each:
- Do establish a rapport with journalists, it can improve your chance of getting coverage
- Do ask about up-coming forward features that the journalist is planning, your contribution can make their life easier
- Do personalise your emails, journalists don’t like blanketed press releases
- Do offer interviews with the press release subject, journalists like to ask their own questions
- Do thank them if the story is published
- Don’t conference call during interviews, it looks like you’re babysitting your client
- Don’t leave voicemails when following up, your call won’t be returned
- Don’t offer your story as an exclusive to everyone, you will not be very popular
- Don’t send your story to more than one journalist on the same paper, they will find out
- Don’t ask to approve an interview before it goes to print, it looks like you’re hiding something
Related links: Best of both worlds? http://harveyandhugo.com/best-of-both-worlds/