Don't Slam the Phone on Proven Media Relations Tactics
Cross posted on Flack’s Revenge
Perhaps it is a generational thing, driven by the PR up-and-comers, the young folk who were weaned on
I am talking about not talking, rather the preference many PR professionals seem to have these days for writing, rather than calling, the media.
I thought about this after comparing notes with colleagues on the topic recently. Also, my friend Adam Rothberg, who runs PR for Simon & Schuster, pointed out a WSJ article That thing with Buttons and a Receiver? Pick it Up (the nice thing about blogging is that your friends are constantly sending you interesting stuff, like human news feeds for good content).
Here is an excerpt: Younger workers may have mastered technologies that some of their older colleagues have barely heard of, such as photo and video sharing apps Instagram and Vine, but some bosses wish they’d learn a more traditional skill: picking up the phone. While Millennials… are rarely far from their smartphones … some managers say avoiding the phone in favor of email can hurt business, hinder creativity and delay projects.
I know there are risks in getting on the phone, because it ups the stakes in communications. Having a real conversation means you must speak and react on your feet. It You are asking for attention NOW, to share some time in real-time with someone who is likely quite busy in the interests of having a (hopefully) meaningful exchange.
There is a chance that you might provoke the journalist; many say they’d rather communicate via email (in the tech PR realm, journalists prefer email over phone, according to a recent study from PR Source Code; and prefer the phone over LinkedIn or Twitter). And it may be easier just to send emails and see if anyone bites.
But the rewards can outweigh the risks. Getting a journalist live is an opportunity to show your stuff, impress the reporter and build a relationship beyond the pitch. By picking up the phone you are sending the message that you have something important, simply too big to run the risk of being ignored or lost in the spam folder. You are being the squeaky wheel that the client hopes they are getting.
Of course, it also gives you a chance to get feedback on a pitch and advance an opportunity – instead of settling for the radio silence that often greets email pitches. You will have a few precious moments to explain the pitch and address any questions or address concerns / objections. In short, you will be adding value.
This holds true for just about any company, but is especially important for tech startups, the ones that are fighting for attention, and don’t have established names. In fact, a well-known Wall Street Journalist reporter said (in a phone call with one of our AEs) that he would probably ignore lesser known brands but for the push from PR, and appreciated that we keep after him about these companies.
The phone remains a vital part of media relations – use it! It is something we do here at Fusion PR .