March 14, 2011 | last updated March 25, 2012 8:37 am

10 Things I Know About.... PR Practitioners

10. 'REAL PEOPLE'

Reporters often insist on talking to "real people," not "experts." This can be dangerous if the topic relates to investments or health, but it happens all the time.

9. PRESS RELEASES

Clients often think that all public relations agencies do is send out press releases. PR agencies reinforce this notion, because press releases are easy to prepare and they can charge lots of money for them. Unless a press release has news value, no one will run it.

8. POOR COMMUNICATION

You'd think reporters and PR practitioners would be allies. Some are. Many are not. Some reporters never bother to return calls or respond to e-mails.

7. TELEMARKETING

Some PR agencies hire fresh college grads and put them on the phone to spend their day calling reporters. That's not PR, it's telemarketing.

6. LIBERAL BIAS

Reporters and editors are supposed to be objective. Many are not.

5. UNPROFESSIONAL BEHAVIOR

Some PR agencies insist on participating in every interview and want to see written questions in advance. Treat the reporter like a professional, and he or she may do the same for you.

4. ME TOO

Reporters often want exclusivity. So why do they cover the same stories ad nausem? How many stories do we need to read about Facebook's valuation or Steve Jobs' health?

3. WIRE SERVICES

PR agencies spend lots of money on wire services so their clients' press releases can appear on obscure websites. Using a wire service guarantees that top-tier media will not be interested in your story because they will not get exclusivity.

2. CELEBRITY OBSESSION

Thank God for celebrities. If a celebrity is indicted for insider trading or hospitalized with an eating disorder, I can get lots of publicity for clients.

1. BIG COMPANY BIAS

Big companies get big coverage, even though they are dysfunctional and boring. Small companies are the innovators and are mostly ignored. PR agencies get big money for publicizing big companies. Anyone can do that. Try publicizing a startup.

David Kowal is the president of Northborough-based Kowal Communications. He can be reached at kowal@kowal.com.

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