Thursday, September 27, 2007

For PR People: How to Royally Piss Off Journalist in Five Easy Steps.

For PR People: How to Royally Piss Off Journalist in Five Easy Steps.

Here are some especially useful tactics for when a journalist does you a favor and actually agrees to cover your lame company announcement. (Free advice from a long-time journalist and a former PR person.)

1. Be condescending when they call to ask you questions about the press release. Say things like, "Uh! Didn't you read the press release?" This will annoy them because, yes, they did read your press release, and being talented people who can communicate, they immediately recognized it for the load of indecipherable B.S. it was and so they're asking questions to try to figure out what you actually meant to say.

You won't recognize this, however, since you wrote the damnable thing to begin with and are so immersed in the topic, you don't realize you're not making any sense in your mother tongue, or you are so dimwitted you don't understand it either and fear someone will call you out.

A twist on this is to ask them if they "even know what" the meaning of certain widely known industry terms and phrases that they use everyday. Extra points if you manage to do both at once.

2. Chastise the press for not visiting your website. You're the PR person, not the actual source. They are trying to figure out when they can get the interview and, very probably whether it's even worth their time in the first place. They only receive about 50 press releases a day from presumptuous jackasses such as yourself, so definitely get on their case for not visiting your website. That's a great way to move yourself right up the pile and straight into the trash can.

3. When they say they can't do an interview at a certain time, say things like, "Well, you really do need to accept this time and let me tell you why: This is a very important man - he's the VP of our insert-obscure-company-division-here." Journalist know this means, "You should kiss his ass as much as I do." Journalists love to be told to kiss someone's self-important ass. Really, they do.

4. Now the good stuff. Let's say you've found an unusually nice journalist, like me. At this point - trust me - the journalist hates you and has told all the other journalists she knows never to talk to you and to label your email as spam. BUT, she doesn't want to punish the company just because you're a twit and so she schedules an interview. What else can you do to really alienate this person? The absolute next best step is to cancel the interview two minutes before it starts. But don't call to cancel - that allots the journalist too much dignity. Instead, send her an email appointment changing the interview time. Do not acknowledge at all what you have done.

5. If the journalist agrees to reschedule, then you have really got a sucker on your hands. Beat at will. First, make sure the interview is conducted via speaker phone. This will allow you to interrupt the flow of the interview and also ensure that the journalist can't actually hear the answers because the speaker phone keeps cutting out. Be sure to ask lots of snide questions, such as, when the journalist asks the person to repeat what the source says, interrupt "Aren't you recording this?"

Offer further suggestions as to how the journalist can better do her job to your satisfaction. And by all means, make sure to further insinuate that the information they need is 'already in the press release,' since we all know how journalists love to quote from those.

| | |