The Golden Rules of PR

Adrian Bridgwater, a freelance journalist and social media friend of mine tweeted yesterday that he was going to share his golden rules of public relations. Adrian Bridgwater Twitter

I have been following Adrian for a while now and I find his insights, from the other side of the fence, interesting. So I started to read some of these rules and although most were obvious and clear common sense I could tell that PR professionals had broken a lot of them pretty regularly.

So if you if you want to avoid any mishaps when approaching journalists with a story here are his golden rules of PR:

1. If you have never mailed a certain journo before, say hello in a three line mail before jumping straight in.

2. If a journo’s landline is engaged, calling their mobile will not go down well….

3. Reading your pitch out is certain death

4. Act like a client, THINK like a creative writer and journalist

5. Don’t put juniors with English as their second language on the phone for follow ups

6.  If a journalist has JUST covered a topic, we will NOT be covering it again that day (generally speaking)

7. “My client does this stuff with cloud, are you interested?” <- no, so what?

8. Don’t send embargoed news datelined tomorrow without offering it first

9. Listen to what the client wants, right up until the point when you don’t have to, then go and implement

10. A survey is generally not news

11. An executive on a plane is definitely not news 🙂

12. Never use “We’re really excited about this new partnership.”

13. Never use “We’re evidencing our strong commitment to Java, brown sauce etc//…. by this new initiative which …..

14. Never use UNIQUE – nothing is unique except John Lennon and Vimto OK?

15. Super excited? Don’t even go there. I mean, come on honestly!

16. Is this a good time to call?” probably not, but if you’d mailed a quick one liner first it might be

17. We do value PR people, consider the plight of the journalist left at MSFT Mix with no agency to interplay to!

Adrian in fact spent seven years working for Brodeur PR back in the nineties before becoming a full time journalist, perhaps that should be an enforceable training ground for all press? It would never happen right?

Do you have a golden rule of PR? If so let me know in the comments and we will add it to the list.

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3 comments on “The Golden Rules of PR
  1. Nice post, Chris. I can’t say I don’t agree that surveys aren’t news. It all depends on the results and the application. It’s just a shame that so many consider some cobbled together survey monkey survey with no insight and leading questions as news.

    I think it’s worth throwing Twitter in there. I’ve built and maintained relationships over Twitter much easier than over email etc. It still comes second to meeting someone but that’s not always possible.

  2. Thanks PAul, Twitter is a great example of another way to build relationships with Journalists. A story in PR Week last week pointed out that PRs aren’t using Twitter to it’s full potential for that.

    I think you get good and bad surveys – the more heavy weight academic ones can often be very interesting rather than 8 out of ten people prefer David Cameron to Simon Cowell. These surveys are the ones that are a bit rubbish.

  3. As one half of a business that straddles the fence (we both started out as journalists and still freelance regularly for print and broadcast media, as well as being PR consultants) I would turn around your line about PR being an enforceable training ground for press. I think press should be an enforceable training ground for PRs!

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