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Making follow-up calls to journalists


You’ve spent hours drafting the perfect press release… You’ve painstakingly researched all of the right contacts… You’ve carefully compiled a distribution list… You’ve pressed send… You excitedly log-on to the publication’s website the next morning and…it’s not there!?

 

Familiar story? 

There’s much more to generating publicity than simply writing the release and sending it to your contacts. Sometimes that’s the easy bit and often the real hard work starts once the release is distributed.

Once your release has been sent out, the first step is to make a follow-up call to the journalist. This blog provides you with a few tips on how to prepare for your call…

 

Preparing to make a follow-up call

Like you, journalists are very busy people – they don’t want you wasting their time.

Read through your press release thoroughly making sure you know and understand all of the information within the release.

Write a script that is short and snappy including all of the important facts and figures in the same order as the press release is written.

If you’re calling the trade press, it might be worth re-ordering your list to focus on the specific trade details which the journalist might be interested in.

 

When should I call?

You need to judge which times are best and most convenient to call the media. This varies for every publication and there is no set answer.

Consider when the deadlines are for the magazine or paper – there might be days when they’re under pressure and less willing to talk. This isn’t a problem, simply ask them when a better time would be to call, or alternatively call the next day.

 

Speaking to a journalist

When you’re on the phone to a journalist, always be sure that you’re:

Begin by introducing your press release and describe the main details of the release.

If speaking to a local paper, you should mention the local area early on in the call.

 

Listen

Make sure you listen to any feedback given or questions asked.

They may ask you for extra information, for example figures or stats. If you don’t already know the answers, go away and do your research and get back to them as soon as possible. If you take too long, you may miss your chance.

If they’re not interested in your story, don’t be offended and thank them for their time. Remember to write down the feedback given as this may help you to write your next story.

 

Be careful what you say

If you are asked a difficult question and are unsure how to respond, say you need to think about it and will get back to them with a written statement. This avoids you saying things under pressure which you did not mean and avoids you being misquoted.

 

Don’t become a pest!

Once you’ve made the follow up call, do not call back 20 minutes later or even within the same week. You don’t want to bother them all the time – if you annoy them, they definitely won’t use your story!

If you have received a positive response but no coverage, try again the following week, but make sure you check the publication for coverage regularly before you call back.

 

And finally, be patient

It can sometimes take months for a press release to be used sometimes through no fault of the journalist. There is often nothing you can do in this situation apart from being patient.

 

If you still have no luck generating press coverage, feel free to call us on 01325486666 or email info@harveyandhugo.com

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