It was difficult to pare them down to a dozen, but we did.
Of all the mistakes PR people make when working with the media, Jon Greer of Bulldog Reporter’s PR University and Liz Miklya of Weber Shandwick joined me in whittling down the list to 12. We presented them the Media Relations 2005 conference earlier this month in San Francisco.
Here’s our list, in David Letterman-style:
12. Writing bad news releases that are too long and don’t contain news. Boil down the information to no more than a page, keep it simple, and if journalists need more information, send it.
11. Treating all media–TV and radio, editors and reporters–the same. The media is not a monolith. Learn the different roles and media types, and adjust your media relations accordingly.
10. Misrepresenting yourself by not revealing who you are working for. Don’t. It’s a credibility killer.
9. Pitching blogs as if they were traditional media. They’re not–do your homework.
8. Pitching more than one journalist at a media outlet and not telling them. Don’t play this game.
7. Pitching exclusives that aren’t. Don’t.
6. Failing to set the terms of the interview and getting burned. Set the terms before speaking, when you hold the power–not when the interview is under way and you’ve already relinquished it.
5. Putting your name in a release and then not being available to take calls. Check your schedule and have back-up people taking calls.
4. Pitching information or people you can’t deliver. Don’t do it. Check availabilities before pitching.
3. Not knowing what they cover or pitching stories they don’t cover. Do your homework.
2. Being ill-prepared to provide information. Don’t speak to the media unless you’re ready.
And the Number One most egregious sin…
Calling on deadline. Once again, do your homework and make sure you know the right times to call.