What Not to Say to a Journalist Who Might Run Your Story

There are quite a few things you should say to someone at a newspaper, magazine, or other media outlet who might run your press release. “Thanks” is a good one, also “What can I do for you in return?” Basically, any show of gratitude and appreciation works. 

yes and no choiceOn the other hand, there are also quite a few things you should absolutely never say to said journalist, intern, or anyone else giving you layout space. These are a little more varied and you may not even realize they’re hurting your relationship with the paper or magazine. Let’s take a look at some of the more common phrases you may have accidentally uttered.

Did You Get My Email/Phone Call/Smoke Signal 

Want to really drive your new contact crazy? Then make sure to ask them all the time if they received your message, simply because you haven’t heard from them in the past day/hour/minute. You know they got it, you’re just being paranoid.

It’s hard to understand just how busy most journalists are. Even though we hear all the time how “journalism is dying,” your contact still has a ton of things to do and not a lot of time to do it in. They’re not ignoring your voicemail because they hate you or are ignoring you; they’re prioritizing the fifteen stories they have to edit before they go to copy over your press release that isn’t due to go up for another few days.

Lip Service 

Think you have to say whatever you need to say to get the story in the paper? Think again. Never make promises you can’t keep as they will always come around and bite you in the rear. When they do, the publication won’t run your press release anyway, so what’s the point?

So don’t tell the journalist or editor who gets back with you that you can get an interview with the high level CEO of your company or that you actually know Justin Bieber. When the time comes and you have to deliver the goods and can’t, there’s no way your press release will make it in. Also, they will definitely think twice about your credibility the next time you contact them.

Can You Hurry This Up? 

The journalist has decided to run your press release but first needs some further information from you. Whether you’re trying to make yourself look more important than you really are or you’re genuinely busy, you decide to let them know you just don’t have that much time right now.

This is a terrible idea. If you want your story in the paper/magazine/online publication, etc. you have to make time according to the journalist’s schedule. Of course if you’re actually super busy or in the middle of an emergency they’ll understand, but even then too much of putting the interview off and your press release is toast.

If they want to schedule a photo shoot or something more in-depth, make sure to add extra time to your own schedule to squeeze everything in. The last thing you want to do after getting such special treatment is to bail on them in the middle of everything because you forgot about a meeting or two.

How often do you contact a journalist after you send off a press release?

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of 7 Cheap PR Tactics for Success in Any Economy here:

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