Emails may be easy, but you can’t beat the phone when it comes to selling a journalist on your story.
Here are some simple rules to make sure the call goes well:
Make Sure You’re Pitching the Right Reporter
Read what the reporter has written in the past. With Google, there’s no excuse for not doing your homework. In a matter of minutes, you can locate the right reporter on the Internet and start looking at stories the journalist has done in the past.
Be Sure You’re Calling at a Good Time
Often when I’m pitching a story to a journalist, my first question is: “Are you on deadline or do you have about 2-minutes to talk?” You want their complete attention. If you’re calling at a bad time, reporters will have no trouble telling you. Simply ask when a good time to call them back might be.
Be Persistent without Becoming a Pest
There’s a fine line between being persistent and becoming a stalker. You may have to leave two or three messages to get a journalist to call you back. Just reassure them that it won’t be a waste of time to call you back and if you’ve done your homework on them, it won’t be.
Don’t Sound Like a Commercial
There’s an old saying in the sales world–“Everyone likes to buy, but no one likes to be sold.” This rules goes double for the media. If you mention the name of your company, product or service 5 times in the first 30 seconds, the reporter is either going to hang up or transfer your call to the advertising department.
Lather, Rinse, Repeat
If you get rejected, it’s no big deal. You haven’t asked the reporter for their hand in marriage, you only pitched them a story. It doesn’t mean the reporter just down the hall won’t do the story. Before you move on to another media outlet, ask the journalist if there’s another reporter they might suggest.