My colleague and I were chatting today, after reading one of the many articles by a journalist giving public relations professionals a bad rep, about all the things we PR folk hear on a daily basis.
I can’t even begin to explain how amazing it is when a very busy journalist takes a few minutes to speak with me over the phone about a story opportunity – even if they can’t do anything for me. I get it – reporters get thousands of e-mails on the regular, some of which that have absolutely nothing to do with their beat, audience or (at the very least) interest. PR people can be really annoying.
Working in the non-profit area of the field, it’s my responsibility to share inspiring stories about the people who participate in our fundraising events throughout the year, with obvious hopes that said stories land.
Since we are all story-tellers these days, thanks to lovely social media, it gets increasingly difficult to actually sell a good story to a journalist with an extremely busy agenda. We’re constantly thinking: What does this outlet care about? Why are they going to want this story? We literally spend 10 minutes thinking of how to write the perfect e-mail subject line, because we really don’t want our pitches to end up in the trash, every time we draft a message.
When that story does land, we PR people drop everything and do anything that journalist needs us to do – even if our morning alarm hasn’t even gone off yet or if they need us to pretend we’re extras in a shot. When PR reps and journalists can coordinate well together, the results are almost always a reflection of stellar teamwork.
Yet, for all those times when a story doesn’t land, my colleague and I collaborated on the top 10 things PR professionals hear every day:
1. “No promises.”
2. “I’m sorry, but WHERE are you calling from?”
3. “We only have one reporter on duty this week.”
4. “Something came up.”
5. “Can we please change the interview we had booked for now to later this afternoon?”
6. “This may not be in the paper, as it depends if something more important happens. It’s a slow news day, so we’ll cover it online for sure.”
7. “I’m not sure if someone’s coming, but if they come, they will be there.”
8. “It’s on our radar.”
9. “Is your client available for an interview between 4:43pm and 4:46pm today? I know it’s 4:39pm, but hoping this works.”
10. “You know what? Send it to me again. I don’t think I saw your email.”