PR Etiquette for Content Marketing

August 18th, 2014
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PR Public Relations Etiquette Content Marketing Media Monitoring Press Clipping News ClippingReddit has released some basic rules – called “pressiquette” – for writers or contributors to outlets, and if you engage in content marketing, they probably apply to you too.

The new rules require that, should you come across a story that tickles your journalistic fancy, that you message the original poster (aka “redditor”) to “ask for their permission prior to using it in an article or list, ask how they would like it to be attributed, and provide them a deadline … Please respect redditors who may wish to stay anonymous, or to not be featured in an article.”

There are also rules about engaging with transparency, subreddit behavior, and using images with permission.

While the rules are very Reddit-specifc, they’re also pretty universal. So let’s go over some more universal rules for PR etiquette, especially as it pertains to blogs and content marketing.

Always ask permission to repost

Did an organization’s blog do a write-up on you or your work that you want to share on your personal or company blog? Don’t just copy, paste, and link back; ask permission to publish the post in full. While there may not be any legal ramifications on reposting (and we are in no way guaranteeing there won’t be legal issues), it’s just good Internet manners to ask permission. Chances are a lot of outlets that want the exposure will say yes. And what better way to keep the “relations” in public relations than by contacting and thanking people who write content you appreciate?

Correctly attribute images

Reposting images can get tricky since you never know if your source has done their copyright-compliance homework. Unless they link back to an image source that specifically states it’s in the public domain or Creative Commons, go find your own image that you’re absolutely sure complies, and then attribute it correctly.

Don’t plagiarize

There have been a lot of stories about plagiarism in the news lately, from Buzzfeed to The New York Times to True Detective. It should go without saying that you should definitely NOT plagiarize. But sometimes the plagiarism lines are a little blurrier than people think; it goes far beyond copy-pasting whole chunks of text.

The Harvard Guide to Using Sources explains five types of plagiarism:

Verbatim plagiarism – Lifting copy word-for-word from another source

Mosaic plagiarism – copying snippets, rephrasing or changing a few areas without quoting directly

Inadequate paraphrase – failing to convey information in the passage in their own words

Uncited paraphrase – simply paraphrasing is not enough; the idea still belongs to the original author and thus must be cited as a source. Harvard’s rule of thumb: “Whenever you use ideas that you did not think up yourself, you need to give credit to the source in which you found them.”

Uncited quotation – quoting a source but not citing its author

While I’m sure everyone is following these steps, what are your experiences, have you found instances where someone didn’t properly cite you or another source, and how did you deal with it? What other PR etiquette rules can you share?

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