Not all journalists bite
Are journalists special? No more special than other people, although some people can be frightened of them.
Should you take care when contacting a journalist? Just as much care as when contacting anyone else.
Should you phone or email them? That’s a good question. Some journalists hate being phoned, especially when they are busy. But wait a minute, do you hate being phoned when you are busy?
Remember too that when journalists want information or comment, they will call you at unearthly hours. In recent months, I have had calls to my mobile at 7am asking if I would take part in a live radio interview later that morning, while one Sunday evening I received a call from a journalist at 6pm. It’s all right to disturb you when they want something.
Ideally, it should be a balanced relationship, not one-sided.
As a business editor, I enjoy phone calls. I have picked up some interesting stories from unsolicited phone calls. If I feel a story is interesting and I am busy, I arrange a call for another day or ask the caller to email me details. I am happy for my phone number and email to be published in the newspaper.
What does annoy me is when people call about or email a story that is not at all relevant to my area of interest. I usually forgive business owners, especially those without much experience of PR, but get angry with PR professionals who ought to know better and should research their target audience more thoroughly. After all, the client is paying them for their expertise.
Also, just like everyone else, I don’t like being pestered.
Not every journalist thinks the same, so it is worthwhile checking out to see if journalists you are targeting have a preferred method of contact. Some will say, others won’t. Often, a brief email with your story ‘pitch’ can work better than a phone call, but who can tell? Some publications and journalists openly publish their phone numbers, so why not call them?
What’s the best way of contacting a journalist? There is no simple answer. However you choose to contact a journalist, be brief, explain your story clearly and accept that they might not be tempted to cover it.
What I can say is that this particular animal does not bite.
Your #SillySeasonPR #10 task is to think how best to contact journalists with your story. Good luck and do ask any questions you have.
Tomorrow: ? Visit to find out
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