5 common PR criminals—and how to straighten them out

Media misdemeanors and content crimes may be sabotaging your brand journalism efforts. If these offenders are infiltrating your PR department, try some tough love.

The rise of brand journalism in PR has brought a new kind of saboteur to many organizations. Take a look at the modus operandi of these common criminals.

Recognize how they move and behave, and learn how you can help get them back on the right path.

Logo Lover

Crime: The Logo Lover plasters her emblem everywhere to make sure everyone adores her brand. You may have spotted this person in your advertising department. If so, that’s exactly where the Logo Lover should remain.

Punishment: Brand journalism content should not be overly branded. Shut down the Logo Lover by using your badge in a subtle way that fits seamlessly within your content. As a guideline, think about how an outside journalist would use your logo in the context of their story.

Professor Jargon

Crime: Professor Jargon is the highly intelligent person on your team who tosses around a lot of industry jargon for a consumer-focused audience. Although the professor can be a terrific source for material, his technical talk can sabotage your brand journalism efforts, because it will sound like a foreign language to your target audience.

Punishment: Educate the professor on the rules of brand journalism. Teach him to be a brand journalist by simplifying his message. Don’t be afraid to provide talking points. You may have to rewrite and edit his comments, too.

Download the free white paper, “How to be a brand journalist,” to learn how to tell your organization’s compelling stories.

Narcissistic Nancy

Crime: In the PR world, Narcissistic Nancy is also known as the Brand Bludgeon. Nancy can talk for hours about her brand, its products and experts. Though Nancy’s constant promotion might seem helpful, her efforts can hurt your campaign.

Punishment: When it comes to brand journalism, it’s not about you; it’s all about your audience. Put Nancy on the sidelines while you filter her branded ideas to see how they apply to your target audience. This idea-filtering skill is important, because people like Nancy can be a windfall of creativity for those who understand how to filter them.

Walter Wordy

Crime: Walter uses too many words when pitching your content to reporters and bloggers. As a brand journalist, you may have created a fabulous story. However, reporters will never know about it because they tune out Walter Wordy. Poor Walter—he never finishes telling his story.

Punishment: Put Walter on mute until he understands how to simplify his pitch. Use bullets with top-line story information, and include links that fill in the details.

Manic Manny

Crime: Manny is aggressive in achieving brand exposure, but the problem is that he lacks strategy. He distributes content by targeting everyone everywhere, hoping that someone will be interested in sharing the story.

Punishment: Brand journalists should strategically choose the target they are trying to reach with every story. To help Manny recover from this condition, remind him who your target audience and key markets are so he can be more strategic.

Prevention is key. As a brand journalist you can use these tips to spot and educate these criminals before they commit any (more) crimes.

If you want to see these five characters, take just a minute to watch our short and fun video.

Lisa Arledge Powell is president of MediaSource, a public relations firm that specializes in brand journalism. MediaSource has been named Best Health Care Agency in both 2013 and 2014 in Ragan’s Health Care PR & Marketing Awards. Connect on Twitter: @LisaArledge.

(Images via MediaSource)

Topics: PR

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