When I worked in TV news, there were quite a few things PR folks did to annoy me. I am sure there were a lot of things I did to annoy them as well, but this is my blog and they can write their own if they’ve got something to say.
Apparently, I am not alone when it comes to PR People Pet Peeves. (Perhaps I will trademark this phrase. It is rather catchy.) I put the call out on my Facebook page to some of my friends who are still in the biz to help me make a list of behaviors to avoid. Once again, my very opinionated FB friends had a lot to say on the matter.
“Don’t call me at 4:45. I’m a little busy.” (Editor’s note: Don’t call the newsroom 15 minutes before any newscast. So, the best windows of time to call are 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. or 1 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.)
“Also, don’t schedule news conferences for Noon/5/6pm. I know they’d like us to cover it live, but that’s not going to happen. 9-11am and 1-3pm are the optimal times if they want coverage. And the morning ones are better because s#$! hasn’t hit the fan yet so we probably have a photog available.
“Setting up podiums in front of huge windows!!! Ugh.” (Editor’s note: You can’t backlight an interview subject. It looks terrible on TV. We know what you are going for is a nice backdrop, but the results of putting a speaker in front of a window are disastrous.)
“Trying to guilt trip you into talking to 5 different people for just a simple VOSOT.” (Editor’s note: VOSOT means Voice Over Sound on Tape, in case you didn’t know. Some newsies call it a VOB for Voice Over/Bite. I always thought they were weird. Anyway, it means an anchor will read over the video and then throw to a sound bite, ONE soundbite. So, it’s not necessary for the crew covering your event to interview more than one person. It’s a time-waster and if one of these extraneous interviewees is expecting to see themselves on TV later that night and doesn’t, feelings get hurt, especially if they told everyone on Facebook to watch. So, as a PR person, don’t promise every member of the board they can talk to the TV people. Pick one person, maybe a second for backup in the event Mr. or Ms. Telegenic can’t fulfill his or her duties, then tell everyone else, sorry, maybe next time.)
“Include visuals or at least a link to visuals if you can’t make the said affair! I hated having to call PR folks for visuals.” (Editor’s note: This former reporter left the business to work in PR at an amusement park where his promotions team ALWAYS provided visuals in advance. Bragger. If everyone did everything they were supposed to, no one would pay me to write blogs.)
The same former reporter also added the following:
“Even if they don’t have photogs or videographers on staff, I feel it’s so easy at this point for PR folks to shoot photos or videos with their mobile devices, that there really isn’t any reason they shouldn’t.”
He has a good point there. Sometimes I think PR people worry too much about having the perfect picture to send, but I argue perfect is overrated (and not just because I am currently finding my winter clothes a little snug.) Some marketing research shows the coveted Millennial demographic is more trusting of images that are less slick and more authentic (Think corporate video vs. YouTube.) So, keep it real, folks.
Finally, the same former reporter, let’s call him Ethan Spyder, left us with this tip:
“Also, have someone available to speak for the company on camera. I detest dump and run press releases.”
Doesn’t he sound a li’l angry about it still?
You will be happy to know that Ethan Spyder left both TV news and PR and is living happily ever after and way chilled out with his family farming some holler in the Shawnee National Forest. Ahh, the good life.
Until you have the courage to hatch and execute your escape plan, please keep some of these tips in mind. I will publish the rest of them in my next blog.