Americanisms, repeated phone calls and corporate jargon are among the PR tactics currently riling journalists up across the country according to a new report.
PR consultancy Twelve Thirty Eight has compiled a list of what fellow communications professionals should avoid, based on interviews with journalists from various UK news outlets.
Its annual Buzzword Report sees journalists vent their frustration over the key words and phrases likely to see them reaching for the ‘delete’ key
In compiling the report, Twelve Thirty Eight managing director Hamish Thompson warns PR workers that today’s journalists are often short of time and “can smell a non-story a mile off.”
Words such as “awesome” and “super-exciting” have annoyed many a newsroom team, the report states, lending a juvenile tone to the release.
Poor spelling and grammar is another turn off, representing not only the PR but their client in a poor light.
Corporate jargon also came under fire, with one response to the survey urging PRs to write in English rather than producing sentences such as: “We are entering a new global paradigm in business whereby operatives are no longer satisfied with having a physical office in which all deals must take place.”
Specific examples of “loathsome” behaviour from PRs is given an entire page, with special mention of the irritation of constant phone calls to follow up an e-mail.
One journalist noted: “Do not ring constantly just because you have sent me an email. I can read. If I want to follow it up, I can pick up a phone.
“In 20 years of journalism I cannot remember a single case of a PR phoning me about an email they have sent where this call has been anything other than a useless irritation. Stop doing it – the practice does nothing to advance your cause and indeed damages it.”
Others include statements such as “the client would like it to appear as…” – a clear bid for free advertising; failing to acknowledge the reporter on the other end of the phone probably has a hundred other things to be doing; and beginning releases with “Dear FirstName”.
A city editor had one final piece of advice for those drawing up press releases: “Why not try reading some newspapers? You might glean some idea of what makes a good story and what interests journalists. At the moment, many PRs seem to have little idea.”
The full copy of the report can be found here.