Five great ways to really annoy insurance journalists

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Like most jobs, there are good ways to do it and bad ways.  And when it comes to insurance PR – whether it’s health insurance, general insurance or any other line – and working with journalists, there are definitely bad practices that you should try to avoid.  Here’s our top-five list.

Send non-targeted press releases: A journalist recently mentioned that he received up to 800 emails a day!  And buried within that could be your press release that you want that journalist to open, read and use.  Thoroughly understand your media audience. Because by doing that, you’ll more easily be able to send press releases that are truly relevant to them. Which, in turn, will vastly increase the chances of your story being noticed and used. Giving you the result you are looking for.

Use 20 words when five would have done: Because they are so busy, journalists want to get a good flavour of a story as quickly as possible.  So make sure you give them that.  Keep your headlines and opening paragraphs concise and clear so that the message is delivered efficiently.  Include further information if you want to – possibly in a separate attachment – so the journalist can refer to it if the story is interesting enough.

Follow up a press release with a telephone call: Journalists hate this.  And if your story is interesting enough and targeted well, you won’t have to.  If you have an exclusive – phone in and work with your contact to get it published.  But don’t follow-up standard releases with a call.

Pitch exclusive stories to competing media: Don’t pitch an exclusive story to more than one competing publications or websites.  Sure, the story might have a more immediate appeal but you’ll lose that all important trust element which won’t serve you well in the future with your editorial contacts.

Be unresponsive if you are asked for additional information: Like everyone else, journalists will want to finish a piece as efficiently as possible and move onto the next story.  So if they pick up your story and ask for more information to enhance or make it more relevant to their readership, deal with their request quickly and thoroughly. This will have the added benefit of the journalists noting that you are a helpful person to deal with, encouraging them to do so in the future.