The inbox and the telephone are tools of the trade for a journalist. They can be useful platforms that deliver the next exceptional story or be the bane of their existence.
While it’s their job to be open to unsolicited pitches, journalists draw the line at certain tactics that they will not tolerate. Do one of them even once, and you could get blacklisted forever.
While PR pros should know better, it’s worth revisiting these basic rules for successful pitching. Bad behavior, just like bad pitches, can come from individuals, PR professionals, corporate staff, influencers or bloggers. Don’t be that person.
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Here are the top five things that will get you banned by journalists:
Never lie to a reporter. They are smart, trained professionals who will find out the truth eventually. Any of these behaviors will portray you as less than truthful to veteran journalists:
Outright lies The omission of key details Withholding information Not presenting a ‘downside’ to the story, the product, or the main subject (that you are aware of)
Journalists never appreciate being blindsided or embarrassed when information “they should have known about” comes to light after they have pitched a story to their editor—or even worse—after it has been published.
While your initial pitch should be brief, once a journalist has expressed interest it’s time to reveal everything you know, or risk being banned later.
2. Offering bribes
Do not offer any
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