With the end of the 2014 only hours away, New Year’s resolutions are on everyone’s mind. Most of us will fail miserably at keeping our New Year’s resolutions, and even more people will forget they ever made them come January 2. Losing the extra pounds and quitting smoking are at the top of the list of resolutions for most Americans, but here at MUIPR, we’re not thinking about average people: We’re thinking about PR people.

 

Even PR pros make mistakes when dealing with the media, causing journalists and reporters to delete email pitches faster than most of us will forget our New Year’s resolutions. In the spirit of the holiday that inspires empty promises across the globe, here’s our list of New Year’s resolutions for improving your media relations.

 

New Year's Eve Picture

Journalists who don’t cover your client’s industry will ignore your pitches.

Stop pitching to journalists who don’t cover your client’s industry:

PR pros should know better, yet they continue to make this mistake. Do your research. If your client is an apparel company that makes athletic wear, don’t pitch a journalist who covers the tech industry. It’s easy enough to find the names and beats of journalists and reporters online, either on the websites for the publications they write for, or through a simple Google search. Online PR tools cut back on much of the time it takes to research journalists and beats. MuckRack is a good one, but there are dozens more from which you can choose.

 

Stop Sending Template Emails:

Everyone has been guilty of this one. Let’s face it; telling one story in ten different ways is tedious, but it’s necessary. An intelligent journalist or reporter can tell that you switched out the name of the last journalist you pitched and replaced it with theirs. Not only that, but there’s bound to be something in the email that’ll give you away, no matter how hard you try to hide it. Write a separate email to each of your prospects, and tailor your emails to the unique interests of the journalist or reporter you’re pitching.

 

Stop Letting Your Clients Meet the Media Without Training:

Turn on the TV on any day of the week and you’ll see a business owner or CEO die on stage. Not everyone is good with the media, and almost no one is going to survive their first TV interview without making a major gaff. If your clients aren’t prepared to meet the media, it could be disastrous, and the only certainly that will result is that they’ll blame you. Your client doesn’t need months of training to meet the media, but you should take the time to teach them the best practices of giving interviews, whether for print or on camera.

 

Stop Lying in Your Press Releases:

This is a costly mistake PR pros make when trying to make their clients look good in press releases. It’s natural to want to make your clients look impressive, but if you exaggerate your client’s achievements to the point of lying, you’ll not only damage your reputation but also your client’s reputation. Instead of exaggerating, dig deeper and find a way to make even modest achievements newsworthy. You can do this with storytelling. The days of dry press releases are over. Your client has a story. Tell it. Anything can be turned into an interesting story. It takes writing skill and creativity, but if you’re a PR pro, you probably have both. Use those skills to tell a compelling story the press will want to cover. Don’t use those skills to tell compelling lies the press will uncover.

 

What PR tips and tricks are you using to get your clients’ stories heard? Reach out here or on Twitter @nataliepetitto.