5 Things PR Does That Piss Off the Media

They’re waiting for your press release…

Here’s a guest listicle (“guesticle?”) from Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases or the online leader in affordable PR distribution since 1998. You can follow them on Google+PinterestFacebook and Twitter and download a free copy of their handbook LinkedIn for Business.

The press can be your best friend, but drive them crazy enough and your future press releases will end up in a (virtual) drawer or the trash folder. What can you do to incur their wrath, and what can you do to avoid it?

1. Send too many press releases

Media outlets get roughly a billion press releases in an average day. If you overload them, how are the unpaid interns supposed to find a relevant and newsworthy story amongst the mess?

Only send out press releases when something major happens. Before you send it out, pretend that you’re the reader; if you saw it in your feed, would you click? Would you then care? If not, don’t send it. Overload doesn’t help anyone. Speaking of which…

2. Send non-important press releases

“We won an award!”

“We added a new wing on to our building!”

“The kitchen totally got remodeled!”

You may be excited about it, but is it news? Your new product might have gotten a new development manager, but maybe you should wait until you actually release the product to say anything.

Worse, if you do get printed, readers will tire of reading about you and ignore real news about your company. Think of it as a version of “crying wolf”. With as much information as the average person consumes during the day, a boring, non-important press release from your company can possibly hurt your chances of getting noticed later.

3. Lie

Whether you want to call it a white lie or stretching the truth, the majority of news organizations can tell when you’re BSing them. Maybe you think sending out a release announcing the amazing NEW product your company just released is a good idea, but when the local news does a little research and sees that you merely redesigned an old product, it can backfire.

Simple: Tell the truth. The dark side of PR is creating hype out of nothing. Don’t play into that stereotype. If it’s a restructuring of an old product, announce it as such. Spin the product with the facts you have. Even if the newspaper doesn’t catch it, readers are more apt to catch the spin considering the wealth of information on the Internet.

4. Mega-Spin

Remember South Carolina governor Mark Sanford’s resignation a few years ago? Not only did he not admit that he had been visiting with his Argentinian mistress, he tried to claim that he’d been “hiking the Appalachian trail”. Talk about spin.

Tiger Woods’ team attempted this same move after his affair scandal. They tried to spin the experience as a tough “challenge” for Tiger, including Nike commercials that focused on how sorry he was and how he was learning from his mistakes. Nobody bought it, and the ads were a laughingstock on the Internet. Sometimes, a real apology and a few steps out of the spotlight for awhile is the best tactic.

5. Improper Formatting

Much like an improperly formatted manuscript will land you in the slush pile, a crazy looking press release just wastes everyone’s time. You spent all the time learning how to do it, so why not use it? There’s nothing wrong with taking a refresher course; flip through some old books or read some tutorials on the web.

This is a simple mistake that no one should ever make. Though seemingly there for no reason, formatting rules help those unpaid interns weed through as many press releases as they can before settling on a good one. Don’t land in the bad pile! Also, make sure to keep up on current rules and revisions.

On a lighter note, what can we do to make our press contacts really, really happy? Let’s discuss in the comments!

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