When will you be publishing our press release?
by Nicole Gauger
Not too long ago, in the editor’s office: The telephone rings. The editor picks up. A friendly voice on the other end says, “Hi, this is Lauren Miller from Pushy PR. We sent you a press release a few weeks ago and I just wanted to check if and when you’ll be publishing it.” Before the editor can even answer, Lauren starts describing the release's subject matter in incomprehensible technical jargon. She concludes her lecture by saying, “That’s got to be really relevant for your readers.”
At one time, we had actually been under the impression that this kind of PR agency had long since died out. Experience has proven otherwise. As the publisher for the online magazine dokuworld, we also wear the editor’s hat sometimes, and we regularly get these kinds of unnecessary enquiries. We often get the impression that unfortunate trainees or volunteers have been forced into doing this thankless job, because when we ask why the report in question would be interesting to our readers, we get a repetition of the statement that started the conversation.
Of course, as a communications agency, we also send out press releases. That's all part of our day-to-day business. What we have never done, however – and never will – is phone editors afterwards to see what they think about putting those reports out.
This doesn’t mean that agencies or press contacts shouldn’t have any direct dialogue with editors, of course. But when they pick up the phone, it should be to make a case that it is in the editor’s interest to hear out. For example, they might want to offer a deeper specialist article, guest column or case study that builds on a previous press release. If the editor then receives this material for their exclusive use, and the text is clearly written, free of advertising and relevant to their target audience, then both sides benefit. The company or their agency are happy to be published, and the editor can fill their journal or website with interesting content. This is exactly how we see our role: as a service provider generating added value for our customers and editors’ offices.
PS: For the sake of readability, our blog uses ‘singular they’ pronouns. This is intended to be inclusive of all genders.