Interacting with journalists is a lot like dating – you need to play it cool, wait three days before you call (or better yet, call never) and stop the digital stalking. From our journalist friends and acquaintances, we’ve heard it all from their pet peeves to their horror stories about PR pros – here’s what NOT to do (in no particular order – they’re all important):

  1. Mass email your press release with no pitch or an impersonal pitch.
  2. Get the journalist’s name wrong or misspell it.
  3. Random Capitalisation and other stupid writing mistakes. Unsurprisingly, most journalists are sticklers for grammar, punctuation and spelling.
  4. Attachments – if you can’t paste it in the body of the email, don’t send it.
  5. Call to see if they received your mass emailed press release.
  6. Email the same press release multiple times if you don’t get a response. Newsflash – they’re not buying what you’re selling!
  7. Send pitches longer than a couple paragraphs and not get to the point as to why they should care.
  8. Use loads of jargon. Isn’t it our job to explain things simply??
  9. Pitch without ever reading any of their work.
  10. Pitch a story they would never write.
  11. Keep calling or emailing to follow-up on a story. If they’re interested, they’ll reply.
  12. Unethically leveraging tragic events to get a client’s product into a story.
  13. Texts, calls or emails to their personal accounts.
  14. Using journalists’ nicknames and signing off with something inappropriate or affectionate.
  15. Pretend you know them at an event to initiate a conversation. They know they’ve never met you before and now they think you’re creepy.
  16. Invite them to an event and then show them the same offering shown the year before.
  17. Take ages to respond to a question. Even if they’re writing for a long-lead publication, they still have deadlines.
  18. Provide inaccurate information.
  19. Set-up an interview with an unprepared and / or rude client spokesperson.
  20. Ask to review an article before it’s published. It’s one thing if they offer, but NEVER ask.