Earn Respect from Journalists with Simple PR Courtesies

heidi smith lr 2x3Top PR pros know that relationships with journalists are their bread-and-butter. Those relationships are based on mutual respect that grows from a two-way street of simple courtesies and professional work product.

As a PR professional, your work product should be exemplary – that’s a given. But are you applying the same diligence to delivering on courtesy with the journalists in your life?

These reminders may come in handy:

Be relevant. Know the journalist’s beat and pitch stories accordingly. Wasting a reporter’s time with irrelevant topics will assign your email and voicemail to oblivion.

Be timely. Know the journalist’s typical work schedule and deadline. For example, don’t pitch a story that isn’t breaking news after 3 p.m. on a weekday. You’ll just distract the reporter from her deadline focus.

Have reasonable expectations. When you schedule an event in the evening, don’t expect a great media turnout. In fact, you’ll be lucky to attract any mainstream media, although influential bloggers may be available “after hours.” If you are breaking real news, the mainstream media who are unable to attend because they are on air or putting the paper to bed will not appreciate the burn.

Say thank you. Being a journalist is a relatively thankless task. When a reporter covers your story with professionalism, send a quick email of thanks. When you see an especially good piece on a topic unrelated to your clients, send kudos.

Ultimately, PR pros need to remember that journalists are people, too. Treat reporters and editors with simple courtesy, and your clients’ stories will reap the rewards.

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