A couple of weeks ago, I asked a variety of PR professionals and journalists to name their wishes. Their responses were not of the fanciful kind. No pining for endless cups of coffee and bigger client budgets. These were serious wishes, the kind that would create better industry standards and smoother working relationships.
While it’s not “peace on earth,” anything that helps make our respective worlds a better place is a good thing.
Now close your eyes and hope the following wishes make for a wonderful 2013.
1. Make media pitches newsworthy.
Just because you have a brand new app doesn't mean every tech outlet should drop what they're doing and dedicate wall-to-wall breathless coverage, says PR pro Matt Lacasse
. Make sure what you’re pitching is something a reporter wants to cover, otherwise hold off on sending that pitch.
2. Measure what’s important.
Fleishman-Hillard’s Justin Goldsborough
wishes that PR pros would stop leading off or anchoring results presentations with impression numbers.
Instead? Show measurable objectives: pre-campaign vs. post campaign. Did those results affect sales? Behavior? Companies want results, not how many people saw you article while sitting in the dentists’ office.
3. Stop giving interns the keys to your social accounts.
The wish from Julia Beck
, marketing strategist and founder of Forty Weeks, is directed at clients: No more inexperienced, recent grads without brand vision in charge of social media. Knowing how to work Facebook and Twitter does not
count as experience.
4. Give PR people some time to respond.
Let’s face it: every PR pro has received a call from a well-known investigative/muck-raking journalist asking the stickiest of sticky questions. And the deadline is in one hour. We all know you just
didn’t wait all day to ask that question; and you know darn well the hoops we need to jump through to get you a proper quote. Let’s respect each other’s jobs so we can both do them to the best of our ability.
5. Please don’t call, not even maybe.
It’s a constant beef from reporters: “Do not
follow up with me 18 times.” In fact, talking to a reporter is not going to change their mind. If they want the material, they will contact you. So be ready to deliver. Don't say experts are available on this topic and then tell the reporter, “Actually, today is not a good day.”
6. Be available.
Here’s what another reporters wants: “That PR people would not
say to me at 11 a.m. that it looks ‘really unlikely’ they'll have anyone available. I mean, really? It's 11 a.m., there are literally five more hours in which we could do an interview.”
7. Listen and follow advice.
As a PR pro, I’m on the client’s side—I’m working with you, not against you. When I offer counsel that may contradict your original thinking, I just want what is best for your organization.
8. Be nice!
I always tell my daughter, “Good manners will get you everywhere.” Especially if you are writing a media statement. The folks at Gilda’s Club
apparently didn’t get that memo and it’s still haunting them.
9. Remember, it’s not always about sales.
Not every media interview is about product, says Barbara Laidlaw, partner at Fleishman-Hillard New York. “Sometimes we need the real experts, someone who can give a reporter deep background vs./ the superficial stuff.”
10. Think digital from the beginning.
Toronto-based digital strategist Eden Spodek’s wish is for more PR people to think about strategies holistically. Digital and social media are not something to add on at the end of a plan; they need to be baked in at the beginning.
Anything you’d like to add? Please share in the comments.
Elissa Freeman is a PR veteran with more than 20 years of experience. You can follow her on Twitter @elissaPR.