January 23, 2009

Phone Pitching – one foot in the proverbial grave

Posted in Industry Standards, Social Media at 9:30 am by R

Allison and I were reminiscing about the good old days of PR (three years ago) when you could zip off an email with a press release and POOF! it would show up as news print a few days later with out so much as the dialing of a telephone.

During my years in the PR industry, the mantra for contacting reporters has generally been:

Email. Follow up phone call. Leave voice mail. Call back. Zero out. Email. Follow up phone call. Hang up. Call back. Hang up. Call back. Hang up. Have boss tell you to zero out. Call back. Leave voice mail.

But it seems that everything past the first ’email’ is utterly superfluous these days. The desk phone is futile. Phone pitching is dead.

So how do you get a hold of a reporter to talk about a GOOD, SOLID pitch?

You’ve got options. But it really depends on the reporter’s preference.

  • Twitter — oh yeah, this goes back to some ideas shared here about selling a story in 150 characters or less. Quick. Concise. To-the-minute. Reporters following you get insight into the projects you’re working on and can express interest. Simultaneously, we get to see what they are working on and offer input, resources or other perspectives that ADD to their stories or lighten the work load.
  • Facebook — whether it’s through the chat function or a private message, Facebook offers a platform to share visuals, video, links and content in a more appealing and interactive way than a traditional email.

Nearly all of these applications have interfaces for Blackberries, iPhones and other multi-function cellular devices…so it’s a higher touch method, allowing us to reach reporters wherever they are…

BUT that being said…

Whatever your method, the pitch has to be really tight. One can only imagine how much more information reporters will be bombarded with have access to, which means your content must be timely, relevant, complete and ideally, have multi-media components attached to it.

Rest in peace desk phone. It seems I hardly knew thee…

~R

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1 Comment »

  1. finalspin said,

    Phone pitching is dead? Really? Sorry, didn’t get the memo, kept calling and getting coverage.

    Seriously, I still pitch reporters on the phone at every occasion and I’m happy with the result. I find pitching by phone has an impact not only on the amount of coverage, but also on the angle reporters choose to take.

    But I agree that the era of spending a whole day calling a long list of reporters we barely know is probably over. I find that I call less people and email more (Twitter? ah… not sure enough of my crowd of reporters are on that yet but I should try). But the phone still works great for regional reporters – I think they like the concept of somebody calling them from four provinces away just to sell them a story.

    http://finalspin.wordpress.com/


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