In the first of a series of meet the media interviews I have conducted with prominent technology journalists, Sally Whittle covers her pet hates of PR, top tips and thoughts on writing with SEO in mind. I have to say that I was delighted Sally agreed to participate in this interview as I personally think she has done a fantastic amount via her training courses and excellent blog to educate PR professionals on the dos and don’t of pitching to the media. She has made some excellent points and I think that everyone in our industry should read and take on board what she has said.
Paul Stallard: What is your pet hate of PR?
Sally Whittle: How much of it there is. Seriously. There are just so many agencies, in-house PRs, freelance PRs, social media consultants – they’re all using email, Twitter, phone, mobile, Facebook and goodness knows what – sometimes it’s inescapable. But it’s part of the job, too, so I wouldn’t say I ‘hate’ it – I just switch off the phone from time to time.
PS: What is the best way to contact you?
SW: Email. For me, the danger in ringing a journalist is you never quite know what they’re doing when you call. Imagine you’re a reporter on a story. If you don’t get the story and your competitor does, you’re fired. Or, if you’re freelance, if you don’t get the story, you can’t pay the gas bill this month. You spend two weeks chasing down the right spokesperson, call at the appointed hour and he says he’ll ring you straight back as he’s in a busy lobby. Your phone rings two minutes later. It’s a PR person trying to sell in a press release. By the time you get rid of them, you check your voicemail to find the interviewee left you a message saying he’s just boarding his plane and will try and call you when he’s back in the office in 2 weeks. This story? Is why journalists are sometimes cranky when you call.