Beyond PR

Dec 22, 2010

PR to Media: ‘Help Us Help You’

We hear a lot about what journalists want from PR pros: Get to know them, their beat and their publication. Send timely, relevant pitches. Don’t spam. Don’t call. Those are all great tips every PR person should follow.

But what do PR folks want from journalists (besides a cover article exclusively on their client, of course!)?

We posed the question on Twitter: “PR folks: What one thing do you wish reporters did differently/stopped doing/did more of?” Here are some of the results:

Reply to E-mail Pitches

The vast majority of respondents feel as though their e-mail pitches often fall into a black hole, and wish reporters would confirm whether or not they got the pitch and whether it’s useful to them.

“If [reporters] want better relationships and less spam,” wrote @joshsternberg, “respond. A ‘no’ goes a longer way than silence.

That sentiment was echoed by @AlyssaatUNT: “I wish more reporters would respond, even if it’s just a ‘No, thank you.’ I know reporters are very busy and get tons of news releases, pitches, e-mails, phone calls, tweets, etc., but if we PR folks got a response, then we would stop sending them information they aren’t interested in.”

For some, even a simple yes/no response would be preferable over silence. “I can take any answer,” wrote @mjkpr. “We know you’re busy, but who knows if you even received the e-mail?”

Embrace Social Media

While e-mail is still the most popular method for pitching, “social media can facilitate relationship-building,” said @mbruschetta. Yet, some journalists are still skeptical.

Follow up When Article is Published

If you let the PR pro know when the article featuring their expert is published, they can help you get more visibility for it, said @san_dyego. “This helps us promote it via social media, etc., and gets their name out there more, too.”

Be Transparent About Angles

@AerialEllis said she often gets an inquiry for a story, provides the sources and facts, and then the story comes out way off-topic. “I’d rather know ahead if there’s a deeper angle than what is asked for. Many of us [in PR] respect the craft enough to allow honesty.”

Be Professional

Everyone knows reporters are very busy, and get hundreds (if not thousands) of e-mails every day, but @lisaalloca wants them to remember to be professional. “We all understand they are ‘drinking through a fire hose,’” she said, “but we are here to help them.”

Be Sensitive to Schedules

While reporters’ schedules can change on a dime, often due to breaking news, plan ahead whenever possible, requests @SuperDu. “Calling for last-minute quotes from CEOs for stories not based on breaking news” can make it difficult to help PR pros help you find a source.

Journalists: What are your thoughts on this list?

Maria Perez is director of news operations for ProfNet, a service that helps journalists find expert sources. You can read more from Maria at her blog on ProfNet Connect, a free social network connecting PR professionals, experts and the media:

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