Things PR People Do That Journalists Hate

"They call you one the phone. Period." This witty answer to a question in a survey conducted by Hubspot portal on things journalists hate in their communication with PR people is a great summary of all other answers they received, but, luckily, the situation is not that drastic.


Survey results show that journalists primarily don’t like it when a PR person cannot distinguish the line between assertive and pushy, and the thing that really makes the hairs on their neck stand up is receiving calls in which PR people show they don’t have a clue about which subjects the journalist they’re talking is covering: “I don’t mind being approached by PR people since I need 104 column ideas a year, but I hate it when they are canned, self-indulgent and boring. Make the effort to know my readers, and my style, be creative, and by all means, please, please, please don’t bore me”.

Before we give you a few more examples, we have to note that sometimes it isn’t easy for PR people to be the liaison between the client and media outlets. The author of the original article says that, soon after she started working, she noticed that being a PR person primarily means being a good negotiation:” It didn’t take long for me to realise that everyone working in PR is stuck between truth and fiction, wishes and reality, and that is why they constantly have to balance fulfilling their client’s wishes and keeping a good relationship with journalists”.

However, some things are simply inexcusable, regardless of what the client is asking for from a PR person:

ALL CAPS. They drive me batty. So many PR people think that if they PUT THIS IN THE SUBJECT LINE I’ll be more likely to read it. Exact opposite. When I see a subject line in all-caps, it goes straight to my trash.

One time a PR person called me on the phone and said his email tracking software showed I didn’t open his email so he is calling to follow up. Thanks….but no thanks.

I hate it when PR people explain what an embargo is. I know what an embargo is, I don’t need you to remind me. I also hate when people follow up with a phone call to ask if I got their email. Here’s the thing about email: it works. I received your email, I just don’t want to do what you’re asking me to do.

FYI, sending a follow-up email marked as “high priority” after I ignored your first PR pitch gives me a legal right to harm you.

You can see the full presentation with a few more useful examples here:

Do you have any thoughts on this subject? If you have your own objections to the actions of PR people, especially if you’re a journalist, write them in the comments section 😉 We are here to learn 🙂

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