The Seven Deadly PR Sins

Like most journalists and news editors, my inbox is always full of press releases from eager PR execs, desperate to catch my attention and persuade me to help push their story.

But some of them don’t even get read. Why?

Well, here are my top seven deadly PR sins, avoid them and there’s a chance your email will at least make it past the first hurdle.

  1. Failing to get to the point, with a long-winded and convoluted introduction. Agh, I don’t have time to read all that fluff. Get to the point in the first line, keep it short and stick to the facts.
  2. Talking of “fluffy” PR….don’t tell a journalist how to think. Let me decide if your news is “awesome” or “brilliant”.  And please don’t tell me I have to use your story. I don’t.
  3. Research the newspaper or magazine’s circulation area before you fire off an email. No point sending a perfectly written press release if it’s about something happening off the paper’s patch.
  4. Don’t telephone me as soon as you’ve sent in your press release. You wouldn’t believe how many times my phone rings the very second the press release lands in my inbox. I’m a fast reader, but give me at least a few minutes before you call!
  5. Don’t get all funky with your typeface. No capitals for emphasis. No italics for quotes and definitely no bold just because you think that line is important. And all in black please – my eyes hurt with the rainbow of colours in some emails. You’re not in junior school now.
  6. A good picture will help your press release get used. Newspapers and magazines need photos – but make sure it’s not the back of people’s heads, or out of focus. And if there are people in the photo I need to know their names.
  7. Finally, get the right person. Don’t send your business story to the entertainments writer. And for goodness sake spell their name correctly. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been called Caroline when my actual name, Carolyn, is even in my email address!

Simple stuff, but if you want your story to have the best possible chance of making the news then it’s good advice.

Of course, you could always leave it to the experts and ask the PR team at F Stop Press to help. After all, we’re all still working journalists and we know how to make the news!