Guest Blog: Considering journalist expectations and how to meet them

As a publication relations (PR) professional it can be difficult sometimes to manage a client’s expectations of the media – as a journalist, you have my sympathies. On top of that, you need to manage expectations with journalists! This can be a thorny issue, as some journalists are known to be…tricky.

But, for me, honesty is key to managing journalist expectations.

For example, don’t pitch a client unless you have buy-in from them or are at least confident they’ll follow through and commit to the interview or provide comment. If you don’t, you’ll end up wasting the journalist’s time. Keep them updated on the progress if securing comment from your client and let them know as soon as possible of any problems.

We also know a big complaint from PRs is journalists not responding to their email pitches. But bear in mind, in 2018 there were six PRs to every journalist. That figure may be even greater today. It is simply impossible to read and reply to every email.

That being said, please don’t ghost a journalist! If you are experiencing any problems, or you know you’re not going to be able to supply the promised comment from your client for an article, let them know! This has happened to me on a few occasions and it’s far better than a journalist chasing you on deadline to see if you’re still going to submit something.

And while we’re talking about managing expectations – and I feel I am most likely teaching my grandmother to suck eggs here – please tell your clients not to ask to see any copy before it’s published, as it’s a bit annoying and won’t happen.

Now, more than ever, we need to build empathy between PRs and journalists. The last few years have been a challenging period for everyone, but we’re vital to one another’s success. Managing expectations is central to that.

This blog has been written by Christine Horton, a channel journalist and content creator specialist at TechComms.

If you would like to discuss the above in more detail, please contact TechComms, a b2b tech marketing and communications agency on + 44 (0) 203 322 8928.