A couple years before I became a PR assistant at Konnect, I spent my junior year of college interning for the business section of a newspaper. Under my wonderful editor, I wrote content for the business and local sections and learned the ins and outs of print journalism. As a business intern, I saw my fair share of pitches from public relations professionals. Some were incredible, and others…were horrific. As someone who has been on “the other side,” I’d like to share two tips for PR professionals who don’t want to scare off journalists.
1. PRESS RELEASES IN ALL CAPS ARE A NO GO.
In November of 2011, I wrote a story about Aleloop, a talented artist who wrapped Mini Coopers for Art Basel, a major Miami art festival. After my story was published, I received an email about customized Cadillacs. The topic was timely, but the presentation was less than ideal. The email was written in ALL CAPS and did not give me any gripping or newsworthy facts. I felt as if I was being yelled at by a used car salesman. Needless to say, the Cadillacs did not receive press coverage.
As a PR professional, it’s important to be passionate about your clients. However, THIS STYLE OF TYPING DOES NOT COME OFF AS PASSIONATE. So, skip the caps and stick to the facts.
2. Do not send totally random items to journalists.
As a PR professional, it’s important to send product samples to journalists. After all, how can they write about something they’ve never used? However, sending random items that have nothing to do with the journalist’s beat will not get you coverage. I received a package at my internship one day from an address that I did not recognize. I was incredibly confused and opened the package to find a book about real estate. The writer addressed me as “Kyla” (my name is Kylie) and asked me to review the book. I had never written about real estate or done a book review, so it was clear that this person simply found my name online and decided to ship me a book without doing any research on my beat.
A word of advice to PR professionals: Do your research before you send. Random books on the history of Florida real estate will not impress a business writer who focuses on the growth of local businesses.
Don’t get me wrong– During my short time as a journalist, I worked with many incredible public relations professionals. In fact, that internship is one of the reasons I decided to pursue a career in PR. But I figured I would share those stories as a way to help out the journalists who are so integral to our success as public relations professionals. And honestly, no one deserves to receive emails written in all caps.