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Don’t ditch the pitch

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PR advice for building media relationships

Patch yourself through now.

The number one reason publicists fail to score media hits is due to lack of media relationships. What’s the number one way to build media relationships? Pitching well packaged, relevant stories to journos via the telephone.

Human contact is awkward. Who wants to risk direct rejection when it is so easy to send an email? That’s one reason too many publicists prefer to send masses of email to journalists as opposed to picking up the old fashioned telephone. Sure time is tight but frankly we suspect the true cause is the rejection.

The problem is this: the phone is a far, far more effective way to pitch a story idea. We’ll be posting more on pitching shortly. Pitching practice is one of the best parts of Media Savvy 101. Anyhoo; here’s some thoughts on phone vs email.

1. Use a combination of email and telephone calls.

2. Create an A-list of your most desired journos. (You know what we mean, stop being silly.) Our A-list might stretch to 24 journos for national stories though often it is less. Surely 24 calls is a reasonable number of calls to make? If you haven’t got the details of the A-list make this your top task.

3. Call the A-lists before distributing the email. Then email the rest.

4. Create a culture in which it is accepted that the PR team will block off time and close doors to make a bunch of calls from time to time. It’s no different to being in a meeting.

5. For long lead and important stories you may wish to use – steady, steady – mail. Yep. We think that a mailing to VIP journos for VIP stories is worthwhile. Tangibility increases your chances of being noticed.

Telephone is superior to email because it gives you the chance to build a relationship. Even if you fail to seduce the journo you may get a better understanding of what does appeal to the journo. You might learn that a particular outlet really wants a regional angle or that they might be more interested in your issue in four months time.

Like this? Spread it round. You might even consider booking a Media Savvy 101.

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