In this ever-changing world of public relations, one thing is constant: we need journalists just as badly as they need good PR people. In an effort to find out the best way to keep happy those nice professionals whose inboxes get barraged with our press releases, I sat down with Collin Kelley, editor of Atlanta INtown to see if he had any tips for PR pros.
Unafraid to hurt my feelings, Collin started listing all of the things he hated about PR practitioners… just kidding. Collin actually had some basic advice that may get lost in the hustle and bustle of our days.
“You don’t know how many times I’ll receive a press release with the wrong information,” he said. “I know we are all busy, but honestly just proofreading your release one more time, and then making sure you’ve included a name, date, website and contact information will go a long way with journalists.”
Another tidbit of advice from Collin: read the publications (or watch/listen to the shows) to which you are submitting releases. Seems pretty obvious right? Sending stories that journalists will actually want to write about should be right up there with how to format a release, yet media lists can be deceiving. Think you’ve got the next big story featuring your client? Not if the paper ran a story about the same concept last month, week or even worse, yesterday. Even more flagrant an offense would be if the publication doesn’t cover your region, discuss your topic or reach your target market.
So, know what and to whom you are sending your releases!
Once you have updated your lists and proofread your release, you’re ready to send! Remember, following up is good, but don’t be annoying.
“I will get a release and then a minute later, the PR practitioner will call me to see if I got it,” said Collin. “I’m glad they’re following-up, but honestly an email will suffice. If I need anymore information, I’ll contact you.”
A few days after interviewing the great staff at Atlanta INtown, I was about to send Kelley a release about one of our clients. Considering I had just received all of this great advice, I employed Kelley’s tips. Of course, I found a spelling error in the first sentence of the pitch. I fixed the typo, silently thanked Kelley, pressed send and I’d like to think when he received my email—and only an email—he thanked me too.
Sarah Funderburk is an account coordinator at Schroder Public Relations and a graduate of Auburn University with a degree in public relations.