I’m a PR guy, and I know a number of other PR professionals whom I respect more than I can even put into words. But let’s face it—there are some annoying people in our industry.
These are the types of PR pros who waste journalists’ time, overcharge their clueless clients, and use ridiculous PR-speak, like “synthesize goal-oriented mindshare” or “client-centric functionalities.”
I’ve come up with a list of eight different types of annoying PR people—and the lessons you can learn from them.
1. The Impersonal PR Pro. If you’re making a pitch to a journalist, at least make it personal. Refer to the journalist by name, and make reference to some of his or her past work. Sending generic, effortless pitches is a surefire way to have your story ignored. Stop taking shortcuts!
2. The Hyperbole PR Guy. Journalist are no fans of press releases full of hype and no facts. Just state the facts, and cut out the fluff. Words and phrases like “leading,” “unique,” “best in class,” and “excellent” are typically subjective and have no place in a news piece.
3. The Unavailable PR Pro. You need to be available whenever a journalist comes calling. If you can’t get back to journalists in a timely fashion (remember, they have deadlines), they’ll start to view you as unreliable and untrustworthy.
4. The Disrespectful PR Pro. Journalists are busy. They’re constantly bombarded with press releases and phone calls from other PR guys, and they’re always facing tight deadlines. You can’t expect them to sit on the phone and chitchat with you all day long. Be respectful of their time, and they’ll show you respect.
5. The Bribing PR Guy. You’ve got to wonder about this PR guy. He tries to bribe the media by sending various gifts. Here’s a tip. Rather than trying to pay the media, why not learn how to write better pitches and improve your follow-up?
6. The Overly Controlling PR Pro. Obviously, it’s important that a PR person ensures that his clients come off as well as possible in the media, but you can’t be that pain-in-the-ass, overly controlling PR guy who tries to control every word said about your clients. Journalists dislike PR people like that, and they’ll avoid working with them.
7. The No-News PR Pro. It’s shocking how many PR people still don’t have a basic grasp on what the word “newsworthy” means. Ninety percent of the press releases out there are just pure, promotional garbage that have absolutely zero news value.
8. The Whiny PR Pro. Get over it. The media isn’t going to break their backs to make sure you’re always happy. Things won’t always go your way. Want to cry about it? You’re in the wrong business.