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.”
Few things make a journalist roll his or her eyes more than hearing how your product is “brand new and innovative.” 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 planet. Keep it in perspective. Have confidence it’s a great product, but don’t put it on a pedestal, especially when pitching to journalists. They’ve heard it all before.
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 now! We all want our very important stories to go up as soon as possible. However, pestering the poor, exhausted, and overworked reporter on the other end of the phone won’t do anything to hurry the process. It may even set it back, perhaps indefinitely.
Instead of inquiring about how long it will take the journalist to do his or her job, try thanking that person for his or her time and move on. If it airs, it airs. 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…”
Now this one is just plain 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?” Because that’s what you’re doing here.
It doesn’t take that long to find out who you’re supposed to pitch at a publication. Most newspapers, magazines, 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 that you’d like the public to know about and ask who might be the best reporter to pitch. You should get a fairly straightforward 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.