Every Friday morning I look forward to our BPK sessions… er, ‘bitchin and pitchin in the kitchen’. The entire Toronto office gets together over breakfast to talk about the past week, identify trends, share ideas, celebrate wins, commiserate when we need to and just try to get better at what we do.
As often happens, we were chatting about the best way to reach out to journalists; in other words what can we do to help them and ensure they don’t consider us pests.
We all know that’s a very fine line!
Of course there are the basics: knowing what the journalist/blogger has written about and what their interests are BEFORE we contact them, being upfront and respectful, having a good story that’s not too commercial, never rambling, etc.
And then it hit us. Why are we leaving a voicemail when they don’t answer the phone? We’re calling because we want something. When we leave a VM, we’re shifting responsibility and adding yet another thing for a busy media person to do. We’re not putting ourselves in their shoes, just tying ours a bit tighter.
And that’s not right.
I’ve always felt it’s our job in PR to get in touch with people we want to reach. And that kind of polite persistence is what differentiates the good practitioners from the bad.
So we came to a decision: we’re going to stop leaving voicemails for journalists.
I mean think about it. How do you feel when you see that flashing red light on your phone? Personally, I don’t like it anymore. When I was a publicist, I used to spend hours gabbing with journalists, hopefully getting and occasionally giving the inside scoop. But those days are long gone.
Now I much prefer meeting in person, email and social networks. So don’t expect a message from me. But hopefully, you’ll take my call :).
VM or not? I’m interested in hearing your thoughts.