3 phrases journalist hate to hear

PR pros, quit saying these cliché-ridden phrases when you’re pitching reporters.


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Life is full of clichés, isn’t it? But some aspects of life are definitely more cliché-ridden than others. Case in point is the world of journalism, specifically when it comes to dealing with folks like us. That’s right, PR pros can be some of the worst offenders when it comes to dishing out tired phrases and marketing doublespeak.

Let’s go over a few you can easily avoid when talking to journalists in an attempt to get your story out to the public.

1. “Never seen anything like it”

Nothing makes a journalist roll their eyes more than hearing how “brand new and innovative” your product is. Look, what your company invented and sells might be incredibly cool and exciting. It could sell millions and make everyone rich.

In the meantime, let’s keep the hyperbole down and not act like it’s going to change the landscape of the planet. Keep it in perspective. Have confidence it’s a great product, but don’t put it on a pedestal, especially to journalists. They’ve heard it all before, over and over again.

2. “When can we expect this to go up?”

What’s more obnoxious than a pushy PR person? A pushy PR person who wants everything to happen right then, right now! We all want our very important stories to go up as soon as possible. However, pestering the reporter on the other end of the phone won’t do anything to hurry the process. It may set it back quite a bit, or even indefinitely.

The best thing to do is to thank them for their time and move on. If the story runs, it runs. If you don’t hear anything for a few weeks, send one email. I repeat: one email. If they respond, count your blessings.

3. “I know this isn’t your area, but …”

This one is just plain out ridiculous. Why not just send an email that says “I haven’t done any research on your paper or anyone who works there. Please ignore my pitch.” That’s what you’re doing here. You don’t even have to technically say anything, just send the pitch to the wrong person.

It doesn’t take that long to find out who you’re supposed to pitch. Most newspapers, magazines, blogs and the like will have staff bios and links to their stories. From there you can usually ascertain the correct journalist for your pitch.

Failing that, just call the place up and ask. Say you have a great new product you’d like the public to know about then ask who might be the best reporter to pitch. You should get a fairly straight forward answer (even if it’s a “we’ll sort it out”) and you can rest easy knowing you didn’t send your pitch straight to the circular file.

A version of this article originally ran on PR Fuel.

Topics: PR

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