17 surefire ways to annoy journalists

Pitching reporters isn’t always a negative experience—especially if you avoid these pitfalls.


Feel like getting on someone’s nerves today?

Well, that’s pretty much how every day starts as a PR pro because you’re contacting someone who doesn’t know that they want to hear from you. It’s not always a negative experience, but 75 percent percent of the time you get, “This isn’t a good time” from the reporter you called. Aren’t you glad you asked? You don’t want to know what they would have said if you hadn’t.

Here are 17 more ways to get on a journalist’s bad side:

1. Send a 1,000 word email detailing why your company deserves coverage.

2. Send a mass email that has “[insert name]” in place of the reporter’s name.

3. Send a press release and follow up with a phone call asking if they received it.

4. Send a mass email period.

5. Call them during a breaking news announcement.

6. Call them before they’ve had their coffee.

7. Call them and not know anything about the company you are pitching.

8. Include large files in emails.

9. Not respond to their email within 30 seconds.

10. Not follow through on information requests.

11. Ask to sit in on phone interviews.

12. Ask to see a list of questions before an interview.

13. Flake on an interview or have a client that flakes.

14. Request to review an article before it goes to print.

15. Don’t include phone/cell in email signature.

16. Send a pitch and go on vacation.

17. Request a correction for misinformation you gave them.

Let’s help each other out. Do you have any to add to the list?

Jennifer is co-founder and CEO of FlackList, where media can easily search and connect with brands, PR reps and expert sources within a social network setting as well as access the latest news.

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Topics: PR

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