Things to avoid when handling your own PR

Things to avoid when handling your own PR

Jun 02

Life for a journalist can often be a chaotic whirlwind of deadlines and multi-tasking. When they’re not chasing down sources or following up on leads, they’re creating content, verifying news tips and juggling editors’ demands. In short, there is little to no room for ineffective correspondence if you want them to run a story on you and your business.

Here are some handy ‘journo pet hates’ to bear in mind if you plan handling your own PR

    • Persistent follow up calls: it’s tempting to keep chasing a journalist to find out if they received your press release, but as a rule, they find it incredibly frustrating as they’re busy. They usually don’t mind a reminder over email 24-48 hours after you’ve sent your story idea – sometimes they do need a nudge – but if you haven’t heard back after your second follow up email, you can assume they are not interested in running the story.
    • Not providing hi-res images:they need hi-res and clean imagery to run with your story, especially if the story is about a new product. So it’s important to make sure you have one BEFORE you reach out to them. It’s surprising how many releases are sent out and there is no imagery of the product available.
    • Not being available: when sending out your press release, be sure to make yourself available over the phone. If the news is big, they will want to get the story out as quickly as possible, so if they call to organise an interview or with a query and can’t get through, it’s not a great start.

  • Not checking to see if a story has already run:this happens a lot. Check the publication’s website first to see if they’ve already run the story before you call chasing it up.
  • Not doing your research: you’d be amazed how often people get the names of publications and journalists wrong.
  • Spelling mistakes:finally, and possibly most importantly, nothing riles up a journo quite like poor grammar! Spelling mistakes in the press release, brand names and people’s names especially. Check, check and check again!

Essentially, the main points to remember are to remain thorough, concise and effective in your communication with journalists. Don’t waste their time with irrelevant details or by not being available to answer any possible queries. Be sure to provide quality imagery and copy with your press release, and remember to research, check and check again before sending out any information containing the names of brands, people or products. At the end of the day, journos are human and if life is made easier for them, it will be more beneficial for you.

Jocelyne Simpson has 20 years PR experience advising and running PR accounts for some of the world’s most loved brands like Coca-Cola, American Express, LEGO as well as countless startups and small businesses.


She is co-founder of I Do My Own PR, an online tool that enables small businesses to do their own PR. She is also co-founder of PR agency, Good Citizens.