PR: The Good, Bad and Ugly
Parental Advice You Can Use as a PR Professional
by Jordan Smith on 08/03/2012
We all remember those dreaded sayings and offerings of advice that our parents had when we were children. Some sayings made a good point, like, “Never get in the car with a stranger,” and some went through one ear and out the other, like “Don’t forget to make your bed in the morning!” Though sometimes annoying, most of the advice that our parents gave us was valuable and if you ignored your parents’ advice, you would probably now agree that you should have listened.
If you are in the PR field, some of that advice can be recycled and made useful to your career.
Always look both ways before crossing the street
When I think about how this saying could be used for PR professionals, news releases are the first thing that come to mind. Just as you need to look to your left and your right before crossing the street, you need to review a news release at least twice before distribution.
Before sending a news release, print it out, it is always easier to catch mistakes on paper. If you have access to a quiet room, try closing the doors and reading the release out loud so that you can assure that every sentence flows properly.
Most importantly, ALWAYS have at least one co-worker review the release. You will find it to be much more difficult to catch mistakes in your own writing than it is in the writing of others. Someone who sees the release with fresh eyes is much more likely to see any mistakes you may have overlooked.
Go do your homework
I’d be lying if I said my parents never had to remind me to do my homework when I was in school, or that I always listened to their advice. However, just as doing your homework is important for getting an A in school, it is also vital when pitching the media.
Before reaching out to a reporter to pitch a story, make sure that what you are pitching is his or her beat. Nothing makes a PR professional look worse than pitching a story that has nothing to do with what the reporter covers. Do some research and read some of their past articles to see what kind of stories they typically cover and how many sources they like to use. Follow the reporter on Twitter since it is a great outlet for news updates.
Make your pitch when the information is most relevant. The more timely the pitch, the more valuable it will be. Give the reporter all of the information they will need. A sign of a good pitch is when the reporter replies with no questions regarding the story angle.
Tell the truth
This one is a no-brainer and the golden rule for PR professionals. No matter what the situation or the crisis, always tell the truth.
At MMI Public Relations, we have a philosophy on handling crisis management: “Tell it all, tell it fast and tell the truth.” Mishandling a crisis situation can ruin the image of your company. To protect the reputation of your company or client, make sure the truth is given to the public immediately.
What’s some other advice that you were given as a child that can be useful as a PR professional?
Image Source: CartoonStock