9 words that don’t belong in PR

These terms have no place on the lips of PR pros, says the author. Do you agree? Any others drive you crazy?

Being a PR professional—or should I say, becoming one—has made it clear that there are far too many ignorant, excuse me, incorrect assumptions about the job.

I cringe when I hear certain words used by people within and outside the profession. Recently, I reached my breaking point and started a list of these words—words that have no place in the PR world—so I can least try to bring about their demise.

Spin. Yes, you can make something sound a little better, but any good reporter can see and smell the bullsh*t a desk away. Share the facts in the best way possible, but don’t twist them out of proportion—you’ll get much more respect from the reporter and the client.

Viral. You can describe a video as being viral, but you can’t make a video go viral. Stop making promises you can’t keep.

Glamorous. I guess some sad PR pro made this up on a Saturday night stuck at the office. Perhaps it was a celebrity PR pro who was scraping gum off a client’s shoe. Last time I checked, cleaning up someone’s mess isn’t very glamorous, nor is setting the table.

Easy. We’ve all said it. “Oh, no problem—easy placement.” Ha! We’re able to do our jobs because we know what we’re doing and not because it’s easy.

Later. I would like to keep this one, but we all know that in public relations things either have to be done now or needed to be finished an hour ago.

Free. Is an explanation really necessary?

Favor. Once in a blue moon a reporter who owes you a favor may make up for it, but don’t count on it. They’re already doing you a favor by having you in their rolodex.

Friend. Hey, your best friend might work for Thrillist; that doesn’t make your story any more of a story. It’s a starting point—an “in”—but don’t count on your “friend” getting you much further.

Failure. You don’t fail; you learn. We might not have met our goals, but we will—just give us time.

Any others you want to add to the list?

Jennifer Nichols is co-founder and CEO of newly launched FlackList where media can easily search, source, connect and maintain relationships with PR reps and experts within a social network setting.

Topics: PR


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