For those who still see PR as rocket science here is a short list of things PR pros should do to be effective and what they should stop doing forever.
1. Don’t be an ignoramus – get to know your audience
Doing research before sending your pitch is necessary – otherwise you can make a terrible mistake that will not be forgotten. Make sure you know what the journalist writes about; it’s worth the effort.
Can people please stop sending me fur and leather press releases? We are a vegan magazine – do your research! #PRfail
— Sascha Camilli (@saschacamilli) June 15, 2016
"Well love your writing on Forbes and follow it every day" – apparently not since I haven't written there for a year! #prfail
— Ben Kepes 🏃 (@benkepes) April 28, 2016
Just because I'm in Amsterdam doesn't mean I'm interested in how you want to revolutionize advertising for cannabis #PRfail
— Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) May 26, 2016
2. Don’t send your pitch before double-checking it –it’s a must
Making typos can cost you time, money and give you bad publicity, and that’s definitely the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve.
— Dave Endsor (@dave_endsor) June 10, 2016
3. Make sure your pitch is newsworthy – don’t waste the time of others
Before hitting send, think again – is this really news? If not, don’t send it – it won’t get picked up.
No fewer than four press releases today which can be surmised as tech company appoints middle-aged white man to senior position #PRfail
— Edward Qualtrough (@QedwardRobert) May 9, 2016
4. Take your time and do the research
When the whole world was talking about Brexit, it seems that Ryanair didn’t get the message right. Do your research; make sure the facts you use are “true facts” – using the right facts will make you trustworthy, misinforming your audience will do the exact opposite.
— Laura M. Sutherland (@laurafromaura) June 24, 2016
5. Don’t be rude
Rejection may hurt but you should never be harsh to people you want to rely on. By being rude you’re shooting yourself in the foot – it causes more harm to you than to anyone else.
When you politely decline a PR's event invitation and you get in return 'you were never meant to be invited. My mistake. Sorry.' #PRfail
— Bianca Wessel (@LittleScandi) April 26, 2016
6. Be relevant – don’t send outdated pitches
If you don’t manage to send your release on time, don’t do it at all. There’s only one time your news is relevant and it’s now.
C'mon, nat'l ag pr people! Just rcvd the second news release in two days about events that happened in April. Check your calendar. #prfail
— Susan Crowell (@scrowell) June 2, 2016
7. Don’t use caps-lock
People don’t like it and if you hope to catch somebody’s attention that way, I assure you – you won’t.
Dear PR people: If your subject line is in ALL CAPS there is a 100% chance I won't read the pitch. That's up from a normal 94% chance.
— Daniel P. Finney (@newsmanone) May 30, 2016
8. Don’t use automated mailing systems (or learn how to do it right)
There’s nothing worst then getting a message that pretends to be personal but it’s clearly not. If you use one of those tools, send the first email to yourself to make sure everything works fine – or just stop using it at all.
— Lylah M. Alphonse (@WriteEditRepeat) June 14, 2016
Another classic PR email gem: "Dear <<First Name>>" #prfail
— Mark Scott (@markscott82) June 21, 2016
9. Don’t lie
Journalists will most likely remember whether they spoke to you or not. Don’t lie, it doesn’t pay.
Msg from PR I've never heard of, about an event I know nothing about: "Dear Nikhil… As discussed…" Discussed with whom exactly?! #PRfail
— Nikhil Kumar (@nkreports) May 17, 2016
10. Don’t be intrusive
No is a no. Don’t try to persuade someone that your text was good although it wasn’t. Learn from it and do your job better next time.
If you call me 56 times in one day, I probably won't want to cover your biz news #PRfail
— Meg Dalton (@megdalts) May 4, 2016
Implementing this list will not make you a PR pro in one day but will definitely save you a lot of stress and unnecessary fails. In the end, PR specialists are only people and it’s good to be able to learn from their mistakes.