Rules for Publicity: Do not ask these 7 questions

If you ever want to obtain media coverage, you would be wise to follow the advice below from a PR pro who knows what she is talking about. Since I have been on both sides of this, as a PR pro and a newspaper reporter, I know that this is true. If someone asks questions like these, they are likely to NOT only NOT get any media coverage but will likely be put on a NO FLY list. Busy reporters / editors do not have time with busy deadlines ALWAYS looming on their horizons to deal with people who clearly do NOT know the RULES of the road to PUBLICITY.

Even this dog says NO:

 

As a PR pro who’s been at this a while, I can tell you it’s no secret that there are some things those in our profession do that completely turn reporters off. Yes, reporters can get cranky with us—but sometimes, if we’re honest with ourselves, we deserve it.

While everyone makes mistakes, it’s always better if we can learn from the experience of others so that we might avoid the same missteps.

With that in mind, here are some of the questions reporters DON’T want to hear:

1. Did you get my email?

It’s safe to assume that, unless your message bounced back to you, the reporter did receive your message. So, don’t ask this question. Rather, if you want to follow up, it’s better to phrase it more like, “I’m following up re: X—please let me know should you have any questions or need anything further.”

2. Something came up—can we reschedule our meeting/call?

The answer is – no.

You were lucky to get a meeting in the first place, so the last thing you want to do is to ask to reschedule. Reporters are busy—and their time is extremely valuable—so do whatever you must to make it work. Just make sure your client is there, on time and ready to go.

3. Can we review the story before it goes to print?

Again, no. This isn’t the way PR works.

If you want control over the content, buy an ad. With PR, the story is in the reporter’s hands. If you—or your client—are nervous about what the story might say, remember that journalists are trained to write news pieces and that they have editors to review their work.

4. Will you publish the press release exactly as it reads?

The press release is information you provide so that a reporter can write his or her own story. If they print it verbatim, congratulations—you’ve hit the jackpot. However, this isn’t the norm. You should expect the reporter to write a story based on the information you’ve provided. What the story may say is not up to you (see #3).

5. Can you wait for us to get you that customer reference/product sample/image you requested?

No—no, they can’t. If a reporter has asked for something, drop everything and do your best to get it to him or her—fast.

Media opportunities should take priority over almost anything else you’re doing. In fact, you should be ready to provide what they need before they even ask for it. Anticipate what they may want and prepare it in advance. That way, it’s easy to shoot over that additional piece of information quickly, if it’s requested.

6. Can you use this previously published material?

Generally, no. They want fresh material, especially if you’re writing a contributed article. Don’t try to pass off something that’s already been published, unless you’ve made significant changes—or unless you’ve made it crystal clear that this has already been published elsewhere.

7. Can you get back to me by Tuesday? Otherwise, I’ll assume you’re not interested.

This sounds more like a threat than a deadline—and generally speaking, reporters set the deadlines for us (and their editors set the deadlines for them)—not the other way around. If a reporter is interested, it’s safe to assume he or she will respond when ready. Many times, if they like a story pitch, it will be sooner rather than later. But, it’s important to remember, they set the timeframe.

So, try to avoid asking reporters these questions to get a little further toward building a relationship based on trust and respect with your media contacts. Be the kind of PR pro they look forward to hearing from.

Michelle Messenger Garrett is a public relations consultant, speaker and award-winning writer with more than 20 years of agency, corporate, startup and Silicon Valley experience. She works with clients ranging from small businesses to enterprises such as Adobe and HP, assisting them in crafting and carrying out a PR strategy to help them get the word out, get noticed and increase visibility, prospects and sales.
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Great Cuppa News

Journalists LOVE a good Press Room

 

does your website have one?  Does it look anything like Starbucks?  If not, give me a call and we can make changes to it, add one and / or assist you with it, so that your phone starts jingle jangling with calls from the media. “Hello, Oprah?”

 

a journalists dream… the fabulous Starbucks press room

Screen shot 2014-08-19 at 10.44.36 AM

who could ask for anything more?

what works: interesting people featured news stories with photos integrated all together in an array / slide show of different stories

Headline that catches your eye and goes along with the story, not rocket science, folks

it is easy to navigate throughout the news site / press room, easy to read, easy to find whatever you are looking for

below the news (you can push the button/ click to read more about that story or read below and find different categories of stories you might be more interested in, stories about their coffee and beverages, fast facts, food, customer experience, wellness, and they also feature their twitter feed

then at the very bottom, they list ALL of their Social Media that you can click on, info about the Company, Brands, Media, Facts and Reports, so you know where to go to find whatever you want, there is a contact link at the top of each page, plus in each press release (which does not seem like a press release, it is a news story, and contact us at the very very very bottom too

you can download info and images and see related stories all on the same page

http://news.starbucks.com/

A few weeks ago, I listened to Oprah interview the founder of Starbucks, CEO Howard Schultz, and it was quite more than I had bargained for. This guy was a poor kid from Brooklyn. He did not aspire to have or own a coffee empire. He wanted to make a difference in the world and “build a company with soul.” And at one point in his life, he had the opportunity to buy a local coffee emporium called Starbucks. He made it what it is today, one coffee cup, one barrista at a time.  here is a link to the video:

http://www.oprah.com/own-super-soul-sunday/First-Look-Oprah-and-Starbucks-CEO-Howard-Schultz-Video