PR Done Wrong

As a journalist, I get lots of pitches from PR people. Some people pitch me to talk about their products on Macworld, for whom I write as a freelancer. Others contact me to pitch me on topics for this blog. In some cases, I actually follow through on the pitches (including one which has led to a guest on next week’s The Committed podcast). But most pitches go right into the bit bucket, because they’re just wrong.

I wrote about how music PR people often get things very wrong, and most don’t really consider anything other than simply getting a journalist to reply. This is short-sighted, because every failure leads to less attention in the future. It doesn’t take much to get a journalist to ignore a PR person permantently.

In the past week, two of my Macworld colleagues have posted interesting thoughts on bad PR. I thought it would be useful to link to them, so any PR people who read this might try and do just a bit better.

Chris Breen gives some very simple guidelines in an article on his blog, To get it right, don’t get it wrong. Chris, as a Macworld editor, gets far more pitches than me, and is more ruthless than I am. His Do and Don’t tips should be part of PR 101; but, unfortunately, they aren’t, and many PR people make the same mistakes.

Dan Frakes, another Macworld editor, has been tweeting “PR tips” for a while, and he has collected them here. Dan has been writing these for more than five years, and each one is inspired by real events; pitches he’s received or other PR errors he’s encountered in his work. Again, these are PR 101, but it shows how many tips PR people need.

I’ve encountered many of the problems that Chris and Dan mention, and it’s frustrating to see them all collected in this way. If you do PR, or if you’re working for a company that has a PR firm handling your products, you’d do well to read these two pages, to know what you should do and should avoid. Because you’ll never get coverage if you irk journalists.