From the PR side of the business, we’re taught a lot about journalism as a profession and what journalists like and do not like. We’re told the best way to pitch, the best way to maintain relationships, and the best way to communicate with members of the media.
I’m not sure what journalists are told about public relations professionals and the industry, but here are a few things I wish they knew:
1. We wish you would answer our emails. We want to start a working relationship with you, to be a resource for you, and be able to ask you for help. Our first step was to email you, so can you please reply to our emails?
2. We want to know where we can find you. Maybe it’s just me, but I would much rather start our working relationship at the bar, where we start a conversation over the coincidence that we’re drinking the same rare beer or a comment about the overly rowdy investment bankers standing next to us. So do tell: Where can I find you during happy hour?
3. We get you. We really understand what you do. We know about deadlines, we know you want to tell a story and be great at it. We know about the staff cuts and lack of resources. We really do understand you and your fellow reporters.
4. We’re not all bad. I’ve heard my fair share of horror stories of bad pitches and overly pesky PR pros, but please, don’t let the pitch about the animal fashion show that you received while writing your story about city politics represent us all. On that note…
5. We put a lot of effort into our pitches. If you think that it takes us five minutes to find your email address and send you a pitch, you’re wrong. First, finding your email address takes a certain Google search finesse and sometimes Sherlock Holmes-like detective work. Then, we read your articles and figure out the angle we want to send you. The only part that takes five minutes is writing the email you eventually receive.
6. We care about our company and our client’s reputation. It’s all we have as PR pros and all our clients have in order to earn the public’s trust. All the work we do—the pitching, collaborating on stories, and more—is to make sure our clients have a worthy reputation in the eyes of the public. And we want to have a worthy reputation with you and in our industry.
7. Our jobs suck as much as yours do. You have editors, we have account directors. You have your readers, we have our clients. You want your article to be the most read online, and we would love for our campaigns to go viral. In order to accomplish those things, we have to put in a ton of work, sleep less, and drink extra coffee.
8. We love our jobs as much as you love yours; otherwise, neither of us would do it. Sometimes our working conditions are not ideal. Most times, our hours suck and we’re overworked. But we thrive on results, on telling and writing good stories, and on making our clients and readers happy. If we didn’t love our jobs, we wouldn’t do it-just like you.
PR pros, weigh in. What do you wish journalists knew about public relations?
Julia Sahin is a PR and corporate communications graduate student at NYU and a PR consultant. She plans on doing big things.