You want your press release to get picked up. You may not know it, but the reporters you contact want your story. However, there are a handful of bad practices that drive your contacts insane. All of this could add up to your story going nowhere—or worse.
1. You pester them.
Want to immediately get on a reporter’s bad side? Call them up constantly while they’re on deadline or conducting an interview. And then ask them why your story isn’t in the paper or online yet.
Eventually they will not only ignore you, but all your future press releases as well.
2. You pitch terrible stories.
Reporters review a lot of content every day. Whether they write it, edit it, or just read it and roll their eyes, they see about ten million words a day. The last thing they want to read is another awful pitch that has nothing to do with their readers.
Make sure the story or press release you submit makes sense for the reporter you’re pitching. If not, he or she might begin to think everything you submit is a waste of time. Ask yourself: Would you read your story? If not, don’t send it out.
3. You write crappy headlines.
This one will annoy the poor intern who covers the press release emails more than the reporters themselves, but every person counts! Your headline is your best shot to get a journalist’s attention. If it stinks, or worse, totally misleads, you’re sunk.
Again, reporters see tons of stories every day. The poor intern may get very excited about your headline and send it to his or her editor; but, if the story isn’t all that great, you’ve just wasted their time.
4. You are a jerk.
There’s no reason why your story deserves to be in the headlines more than any other. You could think it’s the most important story ever. But in the end, it’s more than likely just an interesting story among many others. Don’t annoy the reporter who may give you a chance—that will do nothing for you. Reporters are extremely busy people who want to do a good job and go home, just like you.
5. You don’t aid them when they need it.
The reporter/PR pro relationship isn’t a one-way street. It takes a lot of work on both parties to fulfill the relationship. You have to keep in mind reporters have a limited space to run all the good stories they come across each day.
Want to get in their good graces? Help them out when they need it. Be a source or give them a lead on an important story in the community. If you refuse, there’s no reason why they should scratch your back when you won’t scratch theirs.
A version of this story first appeared on PR Fuel.