9 Ways Spokespeople Can Annoy Reporters

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It's no secret that journalists get exasperated with PR pros who pitch wholly inappropriate stories to them. Even those PR pros who are experts at researching a particular journalist's beat and outlet and successfully land an interview for their company's lead spokesperson—say, a CEO—can aggravate time-strapped journalists if that spokesperson is ill-prepared or has a defensive attitude. Media training is as important as smart pitching.

Here are nine ways a brand spokesperson can annoy a journalist during an interview, compiled by Bonnie Shaw, president of Clearpoint Agency. Any one of these actions could result in categorizing you as an automatic delete in a journalist's inbox.

  1. Starting late or postponing interviews—an inability to adhere to deadlines.
  2. Condescending, big attitudes or rude behavior; just going through the motions.
  3. A spokesperson who hands the reporter a copy of an article (or a link to a previous interview) from her competition to use for details and background.
  4. The entourage that accompanies the spokesperson appears bored and interrupts the meeting, adding no value.
  5. A spokesperson who tries to dictate the story angle and content.
  6. An answer to a question that goes on and on—a lack of brevity.
  7. The spokesperson's company advertises with the media outlet, so expects to have good things included in the article or broadcast.
  8. A request to be the lead story and to review copy or edited video before any story is released.
  9. Neglecting to follow up on promised items or images.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. What would you add?

Follow Steve Goldstein: @SGoldsteinAI