Etiquette? I think yes!

In the fast-paced changing world we live in today, etiquette might be the furthest thing from people’s minds (an obvious observation in some cases). However, after much evaluation, it seems as if the most basic of actions have the potential for the most impact. For example, practicing simple etiquette techniques such as holding the door for another person or keeping those famous words “Please” and Thank you” high up in your repertoire of words can increase your level of class.
Public Relations practitioners must practice the basic everyday rules of etiquette, and are generally skilled in this area by the nature of their work. It is the rulebook designed specifically for PR practitioners that is never formally addressed, but most definitely exists. Publicists must master the art of both to be successful. In a society where even the slightest of common courtesy is a rarity, practicing the proper etiquette gives PR practitioners that much more of an advantage. Expert Diana Laverdure highlighted a few of these unspoken rules, and in an effort to abide by the common curtsey section of basic etiquette, I though I would pass these along to peers and fellow practitioners.
1. Never contact a reporter during their deadlines. Sometimes the call is unavoidable, but proper PR practitioners know the best relationships with reporters do not spring from rushed deadlines and last-minute pitches during crunch time.
2. Proper Pitches, know your audience. Sending pitches to every media contact will get you absolutely no where. Use the right pitch technique to the right journalist to avoid unnecessary wasted time and work on both ends.
3. Be respectful. Although this might be common knowledge, this crucial technique is often over looked. Be respectful of the journalists, your client, and most importantly, your team.
4. Communicate—Communication is the single most important aspect of a successful PR campaign. PR practitioners must communicate with clients, team and outside sources effectively to ensure maximum results.

A few basics and we’re already ahead of the curve. For more tips on PR etiquette, check out this blog. Best of luck PR practitioners!

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4 Responses to Etiquette? I think yes!

  1. crandell says:

    I really agree with your post. Being a journalism student in the PR program I think this etiquette is ingrained in our brains over and over. Most of the guest speakers brought into my classes for public relations students were journalists and reporters speaking about the DOs and DON’Ts of public relations. Every single one of them mentioned never contact a reporter on or near their deadlines. Be respectable of their time and do some research to learn this information.

    In today’s society, etiquette is just one more thing getting you (or your client) through the door. This etiquette will expand as the avenues of reaching reporters/public relations professionals shift. For example when a reporter tweets about upcoming stories or necessary sources, it would be in your best interest as a public relations professional to be on Twitter, follow respectable Twitter etiquette, furthering your agenda, as well as the journalist’s.

  2. a_hundza says:

    I agree 100% with your post! I think this topic is one of those that slips through when we are learning our craft. Luckily, I’ve had a few teachers that have spoken on it briefly (some of the most interesting lectures) but I never think we have enough.

    Thanks for sharing! Hopefully students that have not had the opportunity to be lectured on these topics will take it to heart and use in their PR careers.

  3. rniu says:

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful topic! As PR practitioners, it is HIGHLY important for us to know our media audiences and how to pitch to each one. As a member of V3 Communications last semester, we learned the hard way about pitching. We had a wonderful story to share about one of our clients but realized that using traditional PR and an old-fashioned press release was not the way to go. We switched around our story angle and used twitter and other social media outlets to reach news media, and the story sparked interest among the community. I guess this shows the power of social media!

    I agree with you when you said that PR practitioners have the best etiquette. It is so true. Every person you meet that is a PR major or professional has that charming swag about them. Unfortunately, a lot of the times it is a facade, a very fake facade. And reporters can see right through that, ESPECIALLY when reporters know you are trying to reach a deadline and rushing them to get the story published. So I appreciate these bits of advice. I hope PR people will get the point!

  4. adouglas says:

    I think this is a very important topic for pr practitioner to understand. We are very careful where I work that we know a reporter’s beat and understand the kind of stories they have an interest in. At the same token, I feel that sometimes reporters get a little to snooty. We do give them a lot of useful information. We cannot always know when their deadlines are and if they are having a rough day or not. I have had reporters yell at me and then later call back an apologize. It is a two-way street. We have to respect reporters, but they absolutely have to respect us.

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