If you want to win press for your company, don’t annoy or anger the people who can give it to you.
Media relations is an incredibly important component of getting publicity, and unfortunately, it’s a component that a lot of people mishandle. Too often, over eager business people don’t know how to deal with the media, and they end up doing things that annoy reporters. And when you annoy reporters, they tend to not show much interest in covering your company.
Most of the time, the people who annoy reporters don’t do so intentionally. It’s simply a result of a lack of knowledge on how to deal with people who work in a newsroom. That’s why I’ve come up with this list of the five behaviors you need to avoid if you don’t want to become a reporter’s worst enemy.
Sending irrelevant pitches. Reporters get bombarded with press releases and pitches for story ideas all day long. It’s hard enough for them to sort through the ones that might actually be of interest to them, but when you send them press releases that have nothing to do with the beat they cover or that have no relevance to their audience, you’re wasting their time and being a pest.
Refusing to accept “no” for an answer. Sometimes, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Other times, the squeaky wheel is a huge pain in the butt. When a reporter tells you that they’re not interested in your story, you need to accept it and move on. You have to know when no really means no.
Calling them nonstop. Reporters are busy. They don’t have time to sit on the phone chatting with you all day. If you have to call a reporter, make sure you’re respectful of their time. Get to the point, and don’t waste words. If they say they’re too busy to talk, ask what a better time/way is to reach out to them and get off the phone.
Not responding to inquiries in a timely manner. Reporters are always up against a deadline. That’s why it’s so important that you’re available to talk to them whenever they need you. If you’re slow to respond to their inquiries or you’re unresponsive when they’re trying to work on your story, you’re going to annoy them and ruin your relationship with them.
Complaining about their coverage. There’s nothing a reporter hates more than dealing with a whiny businessperson who’s complaining about their story. Just because you don’t like the tone of the story, or the reporter left something out that you wanted to be included, doesn’t give you the right to cry about it. As long as the reporter gets all the facts straight and treats you fairly, you shouldn’t be complaining to them about minor issues.