Journalists and Bloggers Are In Control… Don’t Piss Them Off

If you work in media relations, journalists and bloggers are your boss. I think a lot of media relations pros overlook this basic fact when working with the media. It’s easy to think the client is the boss, since they’re paying the bills each month. Throw best practices out the window and pitch the story – you need something for this week’s status report, right?

Really though, you can’t make a journalist or blogger write or talk about you. YOU ARE NOT IN CONTROL, they are. Why am I writing about this? Because I keep seeing complaint, after complaint, after complaint about how PR reps are pitching the media today. A lot of PR pros consider themselves equal. They make the mistake of believing it’s a two-way street. They think journalists and bloggers need them as much as they need them. They don’t. They keep telling you they don’t, but you don’t believe them.

The truth is, the journalist or blogger ultimately writes or produces the story. Sure, their editor or producer might have the final say – so even they don’t have complete control – but you can only put your best pitch forward and hope for the best. Even if you land the interview, there’s no guarantee your source is going to be quoted, your survey stats are going to be used, or your product photo is going to be credited just how you like it. And you know what? They might not even link to your website – even after you reminded them to.

Keep this in mind when you engage with the media – they are the boss. They can make you or break you. Treat them as you would your boss. Don’t piss them off, and maybe you’ll get what you want. Do everything you can to meet and exceed their expectations, and you’ll be rewarded.

Of course, if you still want to think you’ve got some control of the situation, by all means… keep doing what you’re doing. The smart media relations professionals out there know who really pays the bills – it’s the journalists and bloggers that ultimately help your pitch see the light of day.

Do you agree or disagree? Do you think most PR professionals respect journalists and bloggers? Do you think journalist and bloggers take this stance with PR pros? What approach do you use that works best most of the time? Let me know.

About Jeremy Porter

Jeremy Porter is co-founder and editor of Journalistics, a lively blog about public relations and journalism topics.

  • http://www.dynamicbusiness.com Jen Bishop, editor, Dynamic Business

    Rightly or wrongly, you’re totally right. I agree. I have been really p*ssed off in the last month alone by two PR companies. One I had an excellent relationship with up until this point and one who I probably should have known better than to trust because I’d not had much experience of working with them. But come on, why would you do that?! Why would you really (and I mean REALLY in both cases), p*ss off the person who has the power to give your client publicity or not? It beggars belief. And perhaps it is so shocking when a PR company p*sses you off because it doesn’t usually happen. Sure, PRs (and journos, I’m sure) do annoying things all the time, but when they actually full on screw you over, that is pretty hard to understand!
    Deep breaths, Jen, deep breaths!

  • http://www.ProfessionalFlossie.com Tee Twyford

    Must be something in the water! I blogged about this (from a journo perspective) last week here http://professional.flossie.com/editors-blog/what-works-in-the-relationship-between-pr-and-editorial/ would love to refer failed approaches to it!

    Ultimately, it’s not rocket science:
    Make a connection, be genuine + worthy of integrity= Win.
    Offer blanket release with lukewarm samesame info = Fail

  • Noros

    Speaking of bloggers, what happened to my comment? Did that piss you off too? LOL. At least you can sleep at night. Zzzzzz

  • http://empressofdrac.com Cebuana Blogger

    Nice article here, buddy.

    Base from experience, most PR people I meet are really courteous and I don’t even have bad vibes toward them. But, in rare cases, there are few who don’t have any ideas why they are inviting bloggers to their event which made us feel like “what-the-heck!”.