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  • Victoria Ong

5 Tips for PR Peeps

Updated: Dec 19, 2018


Screenshot from an actual e-mail I received (See Tip 1 for context)

Hardly a day goes by in the newsroom without hearing a frustrated sigh…


Or an abrupt “No thanks, bye”.


More often than not, these exclamations arise in response to painful pitches.


Before I go on, let me say that I do appreciate the work that goes into PR.


With many friends in the field, I know their struggles. Their brilliance. Their punishing hours. They tell me stories of “nightmare” journalists and editors… and I trade tales of terror from the other side of the fence.


We typically end up being as shocked as one another.


But let’s move beyond the tales to some tips, shall we?


Tip #1: Know the media you’re pitching to


“Please consider highlighting this in your esteemed publication”.


I’ve seen this generic line far too many times. What’s the issue?


I work in TV.


Sorry, which publication was it that you wanted a write-up in?

(Drag e-mail to Trash bin. Next.)


Please, at least make an effort to write “for your show” before blasting that generic pitch to all the TV shows on earth.


Or that “great interview opportunity” is never seeing the light of day.


What is great is when PR folks pitch a story that actually fits the particular media’s content interests, style and format. Do some basic research.


Tip #2: News peg; NOT paid ad


Yes, you’re paid to promote your client’s best qualities.


But pause a moment and consider: Why would a journalist want to cover a story where all your client can talk about is a new product that’s “premium”/“revolutionary”/“game-changing”?


It’s not a paid advertisement (plus, those are some highly overused words).


What is the news peg, how is it timely, why should the audience care?


Those are questions taught in Journalism AND Public Relations 101. Please answer them first.


Tip #3: Don’t call to follow up on an e-mail you JUST sent


Many journalists receive hundreds of e-mails a day. Seriously.


So to relate better, please don’t call five minutes after sending an e-mail to find out “if it’s been received” (#happensallthetime).


If it’s time-sensitive, call. If it’s not, wait. It’s really helpful not to hound someone to pay attention.


Tip #4: Don’t spam members of the same team


… with the same pitch!


Even more painful? When the team gathers for editorial meetings and realise the exact “Exclusive” pitch has been offered to all of them.


Which brings me to the final tip…


Tip #5: If it ain’t EXCLUSIVE, don’t call it that


This one is simple.


If you’re offering the opportunity to more than one media outlet or journalist, it’s NOT an exclusive.


So don’t call it that. Word gets around quickly. Bye credibility.


I hope this has been helpful. For additional insights: 5 More Tips for PR Peeps


Do share your thoughts, whichever side of the fence you’re on!

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