Susan Young lists great tips for public relations professionals in 20 Things Every PR Pro Should Know How to Do. You should read it if you work in communications.
Journalists can learn from it too. We need to deal with public relations people almost every day. It’s important to know how they feel about journalists, how they think and how they pitch stories to us.
Nothing in this list suggests PRs should be anything other than professional. However, it partly explains some of the odd things we see happen. For example:
Pitch, arrange, and attend an interview for a client.
Know the process from beginning to end. Hold your client’s hand as you prepare them for an interview you’ve arranged. Be there for them when they need you. Equally as important: Know when to step back and simply listen.
From a journalist’s point of view, it can be frustrating having PR people sit in on interviews. And annoying when they attempted to control things or argue about the line of questioning.
My favourite point is:
Create the subject line of an email pitch in less than eight words.
If only they could lean this.
Public relations people aren’t paid by the word. Yet for some reason many act like they are. They stretch things out way too far. Likewise, the often get carried away with their client’s jargon or bombast.
Of course public relations professionals are not the only people who need to write tighter copy. Unlike freelance journalists they don’t have the incentive of being paid by the word to be long-winded.