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Top 20 Ways Clients Annoy PR Pros
By: Elizabeth Friedland
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Refill the cup of coffee, take a deep breath, and know you're not alone. 

1. No, we don’t know every journalist everywhere across the universe — not that it matters, anyway. Even journalists whose weddings we were in have turned down our pitches occasionally.

2. A good publicist doesn’t have to be based out of New York or L.A. to be effective. Ever heard of this crazy thing called email?

3. Few things actually warrant a press release…

4. …but a creative PR professional can still brainstorm ways to achieve your goals without one.

5. Stop insisting we call the media. Most of them hate this and specifically request we only contact them via email.

6. PR is not free advertising. PR is not free (or cheap), period.

7. Don’t ask us to pitch an idea and then not make yourself available for an interview. If you want the press, we need you to be ready to talk to the media at a
moment’s notice.


8. What matters most to you may be totally irrelevant to a journalist. Remember that it’s what they think is important — not you — that matters in the end.

9. Publicists cannot control the end product. It is unethical for us to ask to see or proof a copy of the story beforehand, or dictate what the reporter can and can’t say. This will backfire — trust us.

10. Social media is more than Facebook and Twitter.

11. If you insist on running all tweets and posts past legal, don’t expect results from your social media strategy.

12. If a journalist says they’re not interested in a story, they mean it. Circling back will only further annoy them and guarantee we’ll be ignored the next time.

13. Don’t measure your PR results in ad equivalency rates. Do you want to know you had $500,000 of ad equivalent value in negative press, or would you rather
know 80% of the press you received was positive in tone and accurate in its messages?


14. No, we’re not writing any more “…pleased to announce...” ledes.

15. Ditto for “We’re so excited/thrilled/happy” CEO quotes. Pretend you’re explaining the story to a friend over drinks, and then give us that quote.

16. There’s no need for a logo and boilerplate for anyone who so much as breathed in a room where the project was discussed.

17. PR is a process. You know who hits it big overnight with a story on The Today Show? Criminals, naughty celebrities, and shark-attack victims. Do you want to be one of them?

18. You can’t “make” something go viral. That’s why it’s called “going viral.”

19. An ethical PR pro is not a spin doctor. Do not ask us to lie, spin the truth, evade the press or hide your dirty laundry.

20. We love you. You’re our favorite client. You’re the only one we work on all day. 


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About the Author
Elizabeth Friedland in Senior Digital Strategist, specializing in PR, at Hirons Advertising & Public Relations. To learn more than you ever wanted to know about her, visit www.elizabethfriedland.com.
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