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Why you should call reporters before sending a news release

By Marjorie Comer

cellHow many emails do you delete without opening on a regular basis? Take that number and quadruple it, and you might be near the number of unopened emails a reporter deletes each day. Journalists are inundated with pitch emails. Your company needs to stand out among the multitude of pitches in order to gain a reporter’s attention. If your PR firm is only pitching via email, it probably isn’t earning all the media coverage it can on your company’s behalf.

Axia Public Relations put together 15 insider tips for earning media coverage for your company, and No. 3 on the list is to call a reporter before you send a news release. This tip puts your company at an advantage over those that simply send emails.

Calling first helps you stand out

Before you send a news release to a reporter, call and ask permission to send it. In our experience, picking up the phone works really well – you pique reporters’ interest, and you show them that you don’t want to waste their time. If they don’t answer, leave a message giving them a heads-up.

Prepare prior to calling

Before you make that call, prepare yourself. Reporters are busy, and you only have one chance to make a first impression.

  • Write out and speak in bullet points.
  • Keep it concise.
  • Share the most important information first.
  • Ask permission: “May we send you more information about X, Y, Z?”

When reporters grant permission for you to send them a news release, it gives you an opportunity to ask for their email address and to let them know when to expect your email. Most importantly, this quick phone call helps the journalist become familiar with you – so when your email pops up, he or she will remember you and open it.

If reporters say no, don’t take it to heart. Make sure you thank them, and if the conversation is going well, ask them what stories may interest them in the future. You might also consider connecting with the journalist through social media as a way to pitch them again later.

When you send the news release, personalize it

Don’t simply press send on the news release after hanging up with the reporter.

  • Be sure to personalize the email to the reporter: “It was great speaking with you today. I’ll follow up in XX days.”
  • Keep the cover email short and sweet.
  • Be sure you send the news release when you said you would.

I have personal experience with using this calling technique to earn media coverage for clients. We earned industry coverage for our client who launched a low-level laser treatment. We built relationships with the industry reporters through phone calls, and it was a key component to our successful PR campaign. For more insider knowledge on how to build great relationships with the media, download Axia Public Relations’ complimentary e-book “Learn Media Relations from the Media” today.

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marjorie-newClients love Marjorie’s work ethic, speed and diligence. She has worked with Axia Public Relations since October 2011. Marjorie graduated from Rockhurst University with a Bachelor of Arts in communication and loves to cheer for her hometown Kansas City Royals. Learn more about Marjorie.


Featured image credit: 123rf.com 

Topics: PR tips, news release, earned media

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