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5 Things Journalists Really Hate - 1/28/2014 -

Marsha Friedman
When sending out your associationís news for publication, remember what itís like to be on the receiving end of a press release.

By Carla Kalogeridis

Marsha Friedman, founder of a "pay for performanceĒ public relations firm called EMS Incorporated, says she doesnít believe in press releases as the primary tool for pitching stories to the media. Based on feedback received from journalists, Friedman says the key is to provide ready-to-publish articles instead of sending out information in a standard press release format.

Yes, it makes journalists sound a bit lazy. And what self-respecting editor would want to run the exact ready-to-publish story that another publication might pick up? Friedman has found the reality is that todayís journalists are just spread too thin to rewrite every press release into article form. If you want your associationís announcements and other information published ó whether online or in print ó your best shot is to send them already written up as articles.

Based on Friedmanís informal research, here are several other ways that you might inadvertently kill a journalistís interest in publishing your associationís news:
  1. Failure to send photos. Editors need photos to post with online stories ó and they donít have time to email you and request one. Send the image(s) with your ready-to-publish story the first time it goes out.

  2. Sending information out too early. You may think youíre on the ball sending information out early, but if there is too much lead time, editors have a tendency to stockpile and then forget about it.

  3. Not paying attention to whom you are sending the information. Take the time to do a little research on the publications or websites that receive your announcements. Instead of having one master PR list, consider which publications or websites on the list would actually have an interest in that particular story.

    Why go to all that trouble? Because if the journalist gets story after story from your association that is of no interest to their audience, they will just start hitting delete without even skimming what you send. Before sending the story to a journalist, ask yourself: "Why would they care?Ē If you canít answer that question, donít send it.

    "Take time to look over the publication to which you plan to send your story idea or pitch, and tailor your content to that publication,Ē Friedman advises.

  4. Not sending press-ready and web-ready materials. As mentioned earlier, journalists receive hundreds of emails daily, and they are often working off-site. If you present them with a relevant story thatís ready to use and has quality photos attached, you chances of getting published just skyrocketed.

  5. Sloppy proofing. This sounds like a no-brainer, but journalists complain incessantly about receiving information full of typos, incomplete links, or no links at all. And if youíre going to personalize the email, Friedman says, make sure you donít get the journalistís name wrong.
"If you take care to provide what will be most helpful to journalists and their audiences,Ē Friedman sums up, "youíre more likely to get the publicity you seek ó and maybe even a thank you to boot.Ē

Carla Kalogeridis is editorial director of Association Media & Publishing. If youíd like to be interviewed for Sidebar ó or know of someone else who always has an interesting perspective or opinion on association communications and publishing ó send us your suggestion.


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