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How Not To Get Your PR Articles or News Items Published
Get it right with an effective outreach campaign and you could be looking at an exceptional ROI. Not only does it cost nothing to knock up a press release, but most local (and some national) media outlets will bite your hand off for a free scoop.
Hence, for literally no money at all, you could reach an absolutely enormous audience with whatever message you see fit.
That said, it’s surprisingly easy to ruffle the average journalist or blogger up the wrong way. It’s worth remembering that they might receive dozens, hundreds or even thousands of outreach requests in the average week. In which case, it’s your job to ensure that your press release is selected for publishing.
With this in mind, here’s a brief overview of five ways to encourage journalists not to publish your stories as a form of free marketing:
- Sending Generic and Impersonal Requests
First up, under no circumstances should you give the recipient indication you’re firing out hundreds of requests, hoping somebody somewhere will bite. It needs to be 100% personal in nature and should address the recipient by name. If there’s the slightest hint of anything general, generic or impersonal, they won’t even waste their time opening your email.
- Targeting Irrelevant Outlets
If the story or content you’re pitching isn’t 100% relevant to the outlet, don’t waste their time or yours by pitching it. You’ll simply find yourself being blacklisted as a time-waster, meaning that any subsequent emails you send pitching relevant content will most likely be sent straight to the trash. Be extremely careful when it comes to the value and relevance of the content and stories you pitch, as you often only get one chance to get into their good books.
- Being Too Informal at First
To an extent, keeping the usual formalities toned down when reaching out to journos is the way to go. They’re more about reading something interesting and engaging than dealing with corporate speak and jargon used to try and impress them. But at the same time, there’s such a thing as going too far with false-niceties and friendliness. Polite professionalism is the way to go, until you establish some kind of rapport with the recipient.
- Failing to Respond Promptly
If a journalist is interested in a PR they receive, they’ll almost always get back to the sender with a request for further information. Or at least, with some kind of acknowledgement of receipt. The moment you get this reply or acknowledgement, it’s essential to get back to the journo with an appropriate response of your own. Delay your response too long and you’ll give the impression you’ve better things to do than get your PR published.
- Careless Mistakes in Your PR
Last up, submitting a press release with the odd spelling mistakes or grammatical error may not seem like the end of the world. To a busy journalist, it simply confirms that you don’t particularly value their time, nor do you respect yourself enough to proofread your own work. In which case, they’re unlikely to take your request seriously – irrespective of how relevant the content itself may be.