Handy Dandy Guide to PR Etiquette

Tis the season for sugar and spice and everything nice. So nothing is more fitting than a post on how to navigate the complicated world of working with the media.

I took the liberty of polling a variety of media sources to learn what they like and what they don't.

Here is a rulebook of manners to successfully manage your media relationships.

Thou shall not stalk the media

Following up with the media after sending a pitch is ok. Stalking them until they answer your emails or phone calls is not. I had numerous responses from the media that they would see the same number pop up on the caller ID 10x per day. They purposely didn't answer it because they weren't interested. If you've sent a pitch and performed a round of follow up and still hear nothing, it's safe to assume that they got it and it's not a fit for them right now.

I also had a resounding response that they don't respond to every pitch because they simply don't have time, and this goes even for people they have worked with before. Most did say that they read each and every pitch, so you don't have to wonder if it ever came through. Due to high volume, they simply don't have time to respond unless they are interested.

Another pet peeve was multiple check-ins after they show interest. If they show interest in your story, it doesn't always mean it will come to fruition right away. Trust that if they are interested, they will get in touch with you when the story will run.

Thou shall not send lengthy pitches

Across the board, simple was better. A few short paragraphs is enough. If you can't get your point across concisely, work on it until you can. Press releases were overall frowned upon because they aren't customized to the individual outlet.

Thou shall embrace email

Email was the answer for preferred method by all. As far as sending images/attachments, most were OK with this as long as it was a small, lo-resolution image. The only reason you would need to send an image attachment is if you're pitching a product that would visually appear in the outlet. Otherwise you can provide a link to additional images.

Thou shall not pitch any media outlet before reading, watching, listening

Never send a pitch to anyone without being familiar with what they cover, the audience they target, and how your story will fit in.

Thou shall not pitch the wrong person

When a media outlet has multiple staff members (and in most cases they do, unless it's a blog written by one person), choose the best person that covers your specific industry and pitch them.

Thou shall understand deadlines

National magazine editors specifically had the biggest beef with this out of all the media outlets polled - understand that most work 4-6 months in advance so if you're pitching Christmas and New Year stuff now, you're way too late.

Melissa Cassera is a sought-after expert in the publicity field and specializes in helping small business owners get publicity in top media outlets. As owner of Cassera Communications, Melissa has landed placements in top magazines, newspapers and morning shows for her clients. She works with business owners, authors, professional speakers, and experts from various industries including entertainment, healthcare, information technology, fashion and beauty, human resources and more. Melissa also serves as a nationally syndicated Wellness Expert, covering the latest in healthy living advice for media outlets and audiences across the country!

To find out more about Melissa visit http://casseracommunications.com/

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