Sunday, April 10, 2011

Manners 101 for PR People

Public relations professionals are often mistrusted by the public and stereotyped as spin doctors. As aspiring public relations professionals, we must not only know how to write press releases, develop PR campaigns and pitch to the media, but there are certain character traits we must possess in order to do our jobs effectively and avoid these stereotypes. In the recent article “8 lessons from annoying PR pros,” Mickie Kennedy points out some stereotypically annoying and ineffective PR people.

Here are some character traits of these types of PR people, which aspiring PR professionals should avoid:

1. Disrespectful: Kennedy says PR people should remember to always respect journalists, remembering that journalists are always on deadline and cannot chat with you on the phone for hours or read a bunch of press releases without any news value. Furthermore, PR people should make themselves available to journalists, since nothing is more annoying to a journalist than not being able to reach a PR person for a story.

2. Controlling: Although PR people must ensure that their client is presented in the best light possible, we should not be that “pain-in-the-ass, overly controlling PR guy” who tries to control everything said about the client, Kennedy says. Journalists will avoid dealing with you in the future if you are overly controlling.

3. Impersonal: Kennedy says PR people should always personalize pitches to the media. Referring to the journalist’s previous work is a great way to personalize your pitch. Personalizing pitches gives the PR person a better chance of getting their story covered by the media.

What are some other traits and behaviors you think PR people should avoid?

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Shari DaCosta.

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