What do journalists say about PR practitioners?
- They can’t write.
- They pester.
- They don’t give me enough information (or the right information).
- They miss the big picture.
- They’re not timely.
- They don’t know what I do, cover, or care about.
Somewhere these lines cross, usually at the intersection of Accuracy Street and Relationship Boulevard.
The top complaint I always get from media about other PR professionals is the lack of writing skill or proofing they witness on a daily basis—news releases that have grammar errors, typos, don’t follow AP style, and are full of industry jargon.
Why is that so annoying to a journalist?
Media aren’t paid to interpret what you’re attempting to say through insider client lingo that only a soothsayer could divine.
Media are paid to make sense of the news of the day – while on deadline – for a large and generally lay audience, often for mediocre pay and long hours. That means finding a common denominator of clear language put together in an orderly way. If you send a release that makes no sense, don’t expect it to move to the top of the pile.
If clients want to pay a hefty fee to make no sense, because they’ve become accustomed to communicating in their own special language, that’s an extraordinary waste of a retainer (that’s PR lingo for monthly payments determined by a fixed number of hours worked at a specific rate)
Make your story a winning tale of the day by actually being newsworthy. And for clients looking for the best match in PR, consider the kind of practitioner you want on your payroll.
If they can clear the intersection and keep the traffic moving in both directions, you’re on your way.