Dear PR professionals and those who wish to be,
Every day we in the media are deluged with emails, social media posts, phone calls and other messages from you. Sometimes, what you have to offer is of value to us. Other times it is not. Regardless, if you want to develop a working relationship with us, here are some blunt and handy tips to follow:
- Know what we owe you, which is exactly nothing. We owe our listeners/readers/viewers the best content we can deliver. We’ll decide if you can help us accomplish that.
- Don’t wait until the last minute to tell us about your event, research or idea. We have to plan aspects of our shows well in advance even though it all seems spontaneous and in-the-moment. (That’s because we’re good at what we do.)
- Use social media to promote your appearance with us. We will retweet, share and like the heck out of you. However, if you put up a post and tag announcers from competing media companies, the lack of acknowledgement will be deafening.
- Use the BCC field in your emails, please. When you send out a mass email and put all of our addresses out there for everyone to see, you expose us to unwanted solicitation and spam.
- Read our email! I recently communicated with a media contact simply to get a few questions answered and although she had presented herself as the main contact, she punted my email to the artist, his representatives and a whole bunch of people. Don’t put me in an awkward spot. It won’t help your cause.
- Don’t be vague. It’s irritating and it wastes our time. It also shows us that you have no idea how little time we have to waste. We are our own producers, bookers, researchers and guest retrievers. We won’t hold your hand or do forensic–style research.
- Don’t tell us what you’re doing with our competitors because we know that if you’ll do that, you’ll tell them what you’re doing with us. Media outlets are in a brutal fight for survival. When you contact me and ask if I can move a planned interview to accommodate a competitor’s last-minute request, I’m going to decide how difficult it is before I answer. If I have to go to great lengths to do it, it’s not going to happen. Even if I do it, I’ll just assume that you don’t know what you’re doing.
- Tell your client (or yourself) that mentioning another media property on air is a strict no-no. Do a little homework and find out who belongs to whom. Bell Media in London includes CTV, CJBK, Virgin and BX-93. We are family. If you or your client talks about an experience they had with the other guys, including TV and print, don’t be surprised if you don’t come back. This is our reality and you’re a guest in it.
- Listeners don’t respond to sell-sell-sell so tell your client that repeating the name of their book/venue/ whatever every few seconds is really annoying and a turn-off. The guest only needs to be compelling to connect with our listeners. Touch their emotions with a great story, don’t shove your product down their throats – or in this case, in their ears – and interest in their product/service will naturally follow.
- Don’t try to do an end-run on us. Recently someone was turned down by our boss for an appearance and then came straight to us. We see each other in the hallways. We talk about you if you’re a jerk! It doesn’t take long for word to get around.
- Don’t ambush us on the air. The client is our guest and should act like one. I’m reminded of a radio guest who spent most of his segment making fun of the music the station played. Take advantage of the opportunity to make the segment as great as possible but don’t go rogue. It’s not cute and it will slam the door shut on future appearances. Also, see #10.
- Congratulations on learning to play guitar! So, you wrote a song about something topical. We know it’s the oldest trick in the book to get airtime, especially if you’re not abundantly talented. Sorry, but it’s true. We’ll decide if we “have room” for you.
Do you have any to add? Please do so in the comments section. Thanks!