Obey the golden rules of media relations to keep journalists sweet

ISOC London trainer Lisa Devaney is a PR and social media consultant who really understands the role of a PR – to assist journalists in communicating their stories. In her many years of experience in public relations, Lisa has established three golden rules, which help her maintain great relationships with some of the UK’s top technology journalists:

1. Never send attachments

If you have news to send, skip designing a fancy document with embedded images and colour logos, and trying to send it off as an attachment in email – chances are it won’t get into the journalist’s inbox.

Instead, simply cut and paste the text of your press release into an email, include a brief message that highlights the key points of your news, and send.

If you must share a document by email, upload it to a website and send them a link pointing to where it can be downloaded. For photos, either upload them to a website and send a link to its location, or invite the journalists to request a photo.

Attachments can get blocked by firewalls, dumped into spam boxes or often are unable to be opened by the journalist. They may also irritate the journalist.

2. Stop with the jargon

Journalists can’t stand industry jargon, so please stop including it in your press release. What is jargon? Here’s a line that reporter Adrian Bridgwater (@ABridgwater) found in a press release this week: “…touch-enabled search-centric mobile-first always-on cloud-driven.”

Jargon words such as monetise, brand-enable, as well as the use of acronyms such as CTA, ROI, FAQ and QOTD make no sense. Keep your language easy to read. If you aren’t sure, ask someone outside of your industry to proofread your press release. A 12 year old should be able to understand what you write.

3. Know the journalists and their preferences

This third rule comes directly from a journalist himself, Charles  Arthur, Technology Editor, The Guardian (@charlesarthur):

“If you send me irrelevant email, I will put you in the spambucket from which you will never, ever, EVER emerge. And I never revise that decision. Tread carefully, for you tread on the end of my really quite hungry spambucket.”

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This article draws on content from ISOC courses on media relations and social media.