Do I smell cake?
Two members in our Providence office, myself and Julie Sellew-Kruger, are turning 30 in the coming week. But rather than commiserate the demise of my 20’s, I decided to celebrate the big three-oh by sharing with you what I consider to be the Top 30 Do’s and Don’ts of working in PR. Thirty is such a nice, round number after all.
So without further ado, I present to you:
Top 30 PR Do’s and Don’ts:
1. Do read every day. Know who is writing about your client’s industry and what they are writing about in your client’s industry.
2. Don’t leave home with an uncharged smartphone – ever.
3. Do pick up the phone. Sending an email isn’t enough. Get on the phone and introduce yourself to the editors and reporters who are likely to cover your client. They are more likely to respond to a friendly voice than to an impersonal email.
4. Don’t underestimate the little guys. Sure, your main objective is to get your clients in major media such as the New York Times or 60 Minutes, but don’t forget to pitch stories to the local news junkies. Every town’s paper is eager to write good news about businesses and organizations succeeding within their own communities.
5. Do establish a taste palate for coffee. You’ll thank me later.
6. Don’t pitch old news. Stay current with what’s being talked about in your client’s industry and be timely in your pitching.
7. Do be social media savvy. The PR industry is like a chameleon. PR pro’s are able to adapt to the changing media landscape and utilize all available communication outlets to deliver their clients’ story to the masses. You’re reading this blog on the internet, aren’t you? More than likely you’ll be reading a news article on a newspaper’s corresponding website during your lunch break today as well.
8. Don’t forget to include the Who, What, Where, When and Why of your client’s story. The more you’re able to think like a reporter, the more likely you’ll pique their interest in what you have to say.
9. Do have passion for the work that you do.
10. Don’t send out an email blast. Rather, state the editor’s or reporter’s name when sending an email. They are more likely to respond to you when you make it personal to them.
11. Do have a thirst for knowledge. The more inquisitive you are about your client’s mission, the more information you’ll have to tell their story.
12. Don’t send a pitch to a publisher, ever.
13. Do subscribe to publications that cover your client’s industry, and read them.
14. Don’t take yourself too seriously. A little humor goes a long way to brightening up your work day.
15. Do have your business card on you at all times. You never know when you’ll meet your next connection.
16. Don’t forget to eat. It’s easy to blast through lunchtime when you’re busy brainstorming pitches and meeting deadlines. A productive PR pro is better able to service clients on a full tummy.
17. Do own a least one good suit. In PR, image is everything.
18. Don’t harass editors and reporters you’re pitching. Follow up as appropriate if the story still has life, but know when to walk away or when to rework the pitch angle.
19. Do tailor your pitch to the specific needs of each editor and reporter you’re contacting.
20. Don’t call an editor or reporter without knowing your story.
21. Do keep a dictionary and thesaurus nearby at all times (or if you’re web savvy, bookmark www.dictionary.com).
22. Don’t skip out on sleep. It may sound silly to mention, but the more alert you are during working hours, the more you’ll produce for your clients at the end of the day.
23. Do proofread, proofread, proofread! Nothing lessens your credibility more with the media than a typo in an email subject line. Likewise, your clients will lose confidence in your ability to deliver their messages professionally.
24. Don’t warm up smelly food in the company microwave. Your colleagues will thank me later.
25. Do establish good coworker relationships. You spend a considerable amount of time with the people you work with every day.
26. Don’t call editors and reporters when you know they’re working on deadline. They’ll just hang up on you (sadly, I learned this one from personal experience).
27. Do know when to tell your client “no.” You’re there to provide your clients with the professional advice they sought out in you. Sometimes you’ll have to tell your client when their idea just might not make the best sense. You know what the media wants, that is your job after all.
28. Don’t miss deadlines.
29. Do repost this blog on your Facebook and Twitter pages. I’ll thank you later.
30. Don’t ignore your mistakes. Learn from them and move on.