At some point, every public relations professional is faced with a dilemma: To call or not to call? There you are, are staring at your phone, trying to decide if you should make a follow-up call to a reporter (or perhaps whole list of reporters) after your initial email pitch/press release/media advisory has gone unanswered.
If you listen to most of the recent PR-advice articles on the Internet, you should rip the phone line out of the wall and walk away:
So is the follow-up phone call a universal no-no? I’d say yes… and no.
When I was a business reporter, I can’t tell you the number of times I was working feverishly to break a story or meet a deadline (or five) only to be interrupted by a call to “check in” on a press release or see if I was interested in an emailed pitch. My thinking was always, if I was interested, I would have responded to the email. Now, on the other side of the PR fence, I try to minimize follow-up calls—or really any calls—to reporters unless I already have a good working relationship with them or I’m calling about something that I’m certain they won’t want to miss (think big, juicy exclusive).
For all those other pitches and press releases that go unacknowledged, I recommend trying one of the following:
If you simply must pick up the phone, remember to be brief, courteous and clear. And always start the conversation by asking the reporter if it’s a good time to talk—it shows that you understand the nature journalism and gives the reporter the opportunity to politely avoid an unwanted conversation instead of interrupting you in the middle of your talking points.
What do you think? Is it time to hang up on the follow-up call? Leave a comment and start the conversation.
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