In public relations, it’s not always obvious what constitutes a good story.
It’s important to differentiate between legitimate story ideas and self-serving fluff. It also requires a balance of diplomacy and backbone to tell a boss or client that their idea won’t pass media muster.
Avoid the following pitches if you want to stay on good terms with media contacts:
1. Low-level personnel announcements
Unless it’s an editor’s job to report on changes to the organization chart, don’t bother with this pitch. Even high-level management changes are often not significant news.
This rule also applies to office moves and, our personal favorite, a website launch. Trust us, it isn’t news.
2. Re-packaging a story that didn’t work the first time
Don’t beat a dead horse. A colleague tells the story of a client who was enamored of a particular story angle. The agency backed it up with facts and started pitching it. For whatever reason—timing, competition, relevance—it failed to catch fire.
The clients didn’t want to “waste” the idea, but they also didn’t want the agency to change it much. Consequently, when the team went to pitch the re-packaged idea, it quickly died. It was a good learning opportunity, however. Subsequent pitches went through more rigorous vetting.