As a public relations team filled with former editors, producers and journalists, we know that building relations with your local media is like building a reputation – it can take a lifetime to develop any only a moment to knock down. To compound this situation, the ailing health of the newspaper industry has, in recent years created a swelling industry of  journalists making the switch to media relations. This mean that you are now pitching your business against hired PR professionals who know exactly what journalists want and how they want it delivered to them.

If you want to improve your own public relations practices, make sure to follow these ten rules:

  1. Think of the editors when you’re pitching, not yourself. Remember, you are not selling your product, you are telling your story!
  2. Save the product selling for your advertising. Focus on what makes your business unique.
  3.  View your pitch from the media’s point of view. Would you find this story interesting? Would your audience? If not, what can you do to change that?
  4.  Don’t make the editor find the unique side of your story. Flesh it out yourself and tell, don’t sell! Journalists are storytellers. They want a good yarn.
  5.  Be sensitive to an editor’s deadline.
  6.  If you miss a media’s call, call back immediately. Don’t make them wait! They’ll find another story to do in the meantime!
  7. If you can’t do an interview, offer someone else. Interviews are a great way to add personality to your business and for you to tell your story in your own words. Don’t pass up the chance to do one!
  8. Be reachable 24/7. Media work late hours and like to be able to reach their sources at anytime.
  9. Always follow-up. Do not be discouraged if you don’t hear back immediately.
  10.  Be honest!