Trylon Communications  - January 2005

Deadly Deadlines

Journalists live and die by deadlines. Woe to the PR practitioner who does not respect this fact. Here are a few tips to help you stay on the good side of your media contacts.

  1. Understand the editorial cycle. Know the deadlines you media contacts work under and avoid approaching them just before a deadline. Distractions caused by phone calls and emails when under a pending deadline will drive a journalist crazy Ė and place you on a list you donít want to be on.

  2. Respect urgency. When you receive a call from a journalist, respect their urgency. If you donít return calls quickly or have your facts at hand you can be passed over for another source. You can pretty much accept that you wonít be getting any more calls from that journalist.

  3. Produce collateral instantly. There is nothing worse than having a media person respond to a story pitch, only to tell them that you donít have the supporting documentation for the story.

  4. Avoid industry jargon and buzzwords. These people are under time pressure Ė they donít have the time to decipher your meaning. Keep it simple.

  5. Offer help. If a journalist calls you for industry information and you donít have it, say so. Donít waste their time telling them that you have it and will get it to them right away, and then try to find it. If you tell them you donít know the answer but offer to try and find out for them, they have the option of relying on you or searching for themselves. Donít paint them into a corner.