Top five PR peeves

I would rather we encourage best practices in public relations, but lately, I’ve noticed that some PR practitioners are developing some unhealthy habits. So, in the spirit of helping newer communicators understand what not to do, here’s my list of PR pet peeves:

1. Issuing communications without fact checking. A corollary to this is sending out communications without spell checking. And yes, drafts do count. When I get a draft, I expect the facts to be correct and that any editing I do does not include spelling corrections or AP style errors.


Comic strip credit: Scott Adams

2. Promoting self over service and product. PR is about the client, first and foremost. For that matter, this also applies to marketing. Newbies need to be aware that their time really belongs to the employer or client, so while we live in the era of digital communications, it’s probably not cool to promote yourself over your company, product or service. Remember, you need to bring real value to the organization, not just a reputation that they’re unable to successfully leverage.

3. Not playing nice with others. Today’s cross-functionality means that PR pros need to understand – and practice – the meaning of teamwork. And when working with others on a PR team, this means not “stealing” ideas. Always give credit where credit is due. Experienced managers understand team dynamics a lot better than you think. Sooner or later, that bad habit will catch up with you.

4. Spamming journalist pitches. Stop this. If you don’t know or understand how to target your pitches, find a mentor who can help you learn this. In the meantime, you’re making our jobs harder than necessary, not to mention journalists and bloggers.

5. Not understanding confidentiality and loyalty. We all have bad days and disagreements, but in the end, if you’re representing a client or employer, you need to put aside differences of opinion before you bad mouth an employer, client or decision. IF an action or decision involves ethics or wrongdoing, find a PR confidante who can help you work through that; otherwise, leave it at the office and understand that tomorrow will bring new opportunities for you to make an impact.

There, now that I have that out of my system, what advice can you offer new PR pros?