The Post-it notes were piling up on my desk with plenty of reminders for those who work in public relations. PR newbies should, of course, take these suggestions to heart. And while these tips may seem obvious to public relations vets, that’s precisely why it’s so crucial they’re not forgotten.
Reminder: Don’t Recycle
Recycling plastic, aluminum, glass, and paper is fine, but recycling quotes and information in press releases is a no-no. Recycling previously used material is an easy way out, and a lazy approach. Often I’ll notice that corrections sent over press release wires are due to the inclusion of old, now-inaccurate information. These corrections cost money, and they make the source appear unprofessional.
You should check the content of all of your press releases and statements closely before releasing them. A few minutes of care can save you hours of headaches.
Reminder: Keep Your Personal Life Separate from Your Business Life
Over the weekend, I received a strange email from a professional contact, a public relations rep no less.
“I am writing to you all in the hope that you will help me with a personal problem,” the email began. I won’t get into the details, but I’ll just say that the person’s problem was irrelevant to me. (If you think I’m being harsh, rest assured: You would care either.) More importantly, the public relations rep crossed a line in our relationship.
Previously, all I knew about this person was that they’re pretty good at their job. Now I know way too much about them, and this knowledge is certain to color our professional relationship in the future.
Email is a powerful tool, and one that must be used wisely. The relationships we build in the professional world are often sustained via email, and they can also be destroyed via email. Likewise, the relationships we build in the professional world are sometimes meant to extend no further. Too much information distributed to people who think of you as a “friendly stranger” can be damaging.
Reminder: Keep Your Contact Lists Current
I haven’t been a working journalist in some time, but I’m still getting pitches from public relations reps. They come via email, phone, and a fax number I haven’t used in years. Last week, my phone shrieked at 8:30 in the morning. A public relations contact was on the other end of the phone pitching me a story. Tired and confused, I explained that I wasn’t a journalist.
“Then why are you on my list?” the PR flack asked.
“I don’t know, why don’t you tell me?” I responded.
Keep your press contact lists up-to-date.
This article, written by Ben Silverman, originally appeared in PR Fuel (http://www.ereleases.com/prfuel), a free weekly newsletter from eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. To subscribe to PR Fuel, visit: http://www.ereleases.com/prfuel/subscribe/.