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Contact Etiquette with a PR Person

April. 30. 2010.

When dealing with a reporter or anyone involved in public relations, it is important that you know and understand the rules of what I call contact etiquette.

It is important that you do not:

  1. Call at odd hours of the night or morning. Be sensitive to time zone differences.
  2. Refuse to know their preferred means of accepting pitches.
  3. Call to ask about when the story will be used.
  4. Place vague subject lines in e-mails or other documents.
  5. Disregard their time.
  6. Launch your pitch without asking, “Is this a good time?”
  7. Initiate chatter or small-talk.
  8. Meet with or talk to them unprepared.
  9. Wait to return a phone call.
  10. Send anything out to the media without checking.
  11. Contact reporters during deadlines.
  12. Be too informal. Calling them by their first name without a relationship is rude.
  13. Be late.
  14. Be early. This one confused me at first. However, I was lucky to stumble upon Ginny Richardson explaining it further for me by saying, “If you send a press release or press kit months ahead, it simply is not news yet to the reporter. It will then languish on a desk top and move to the bottom of the pile. Your news must be compelling from a timing perspective.”
  15. Let your story die in vain. If you give them a pitch and the reporter is interested, follow up on that! Don’t leave them hanging. Start making those phone calls, get those photo sessions schedules, find out who will e the subject of that interview. Be productive!
  16. Argue or get upset with them if they are not interested in your story or news release.
  17. Forget to say thank you.


Ten Things NOT to Do in the World of Media Relations by Ginny Richardson 

PR Etiquette by Darcy O’Neil

Generate More Publicity by Practicing ‘PR Etiquette 101’  by Diana Laverdure
2 Comments leave one →
  1. April. 30. 2010. 5:09 pm

    Wow I never considered time zones… I guess it’s important too, if you’re pitching to a larger, distant publisher. Also, pitching things too early caught me off guard. I suppose it’s quite possible they might also simply forget about the pitch in the time between. Similarly, it reminds me of Jeff’s visit to our class when he explained that if he gets it too late, it’s just trashed.


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