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Media Marketing Rules — How To Win At PR :

Media Marketing Rules — How To Win At PR

Every profession and industry has a particular way of doing business, a series of standards and approaches that distinguish “insiders” from the rest of the world. If you’re in the field, you know where the boundaries are, what constitutes professionally-appropriate behavior, and where corners can be cut.

In the relationship between journalists and promoters there are also unwritten understandings, caveats that can be divided into three major groups: “do’s,” “don’ts” and “cautions.”


“Do’s” are actions, or non-actions, entirely acceptable within journalism. No one will be offended if you write a letter proposing a story idea, even if the idea isn’t usable.


“Don’ts” are taboos, steps to avoid if you want either credibility or coverage. Including $100 bills with a news release may assure media attention, but it’s not likely to be the kind of attention one might enjoy.


The third category of behavior, “cautions,” represent situations where there are no universally-accepted norms. You need to act thoughtfully in such cases because it’s entirely possible to needlessly offend someone if you don’t.

For instance, who pays if you and a journalist have lunch? You? The reporter? Do you share the bill? The answer may depend on who invited whom, the journalist’s comfort level with you, the topics discussed, and where the meeting is held.

The answer may also depend on the reporter’s employer. Some news organizations have no rules on the subject while others strictly limit business lunches and other matters, not because they think reporters will be corrupted, but because they worry that such meetings may create a perception of impropriety or obligation.

If the bill comes and you’re unsure how it should be handled, it’s always fair to say, “I’ll be happy to pick-up the tab, but I know some organizations have rules about luncheons. Would it be better for us to split the bill? You tell me what’s best.” Now the issue has been recognized and the reporter can comfortably suggest a solution.

The Unwritten PR Rules, Part 1: Promotional “Do’s”

The Unwritten PR Rules, Part 2: Promotional “Don’ts”

The Unwritten PR Rules, Part 3: Promotional “Cautions”

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