When enough is enough there’s a PR opportunity for you

Sometimes I get phone calls from business owners asking nervously if I’d be interested in writing about their business. I ask them what they do to find out more about their story.

These conversations often reveal businesses with very interesting stories. Of course I want to write about them.

It’s easy to think that businesses with their own PR and marketing staff or who employ PR agencies are the only ones who can get in the press.

I’ll let you into a secret. Their press releases are very often not that interesting and some of them bombard me with ‘news’. If I write about the same business every week, readers will get bored.

I am always looking out for undiscovered businesses with a story to tell. I also like businesses who send me press releases on a regular basis, but don’t bombard me. Many other journalists will feel the same.

So think that you could actually be answering a journalist’s prayer to receive something fresh, something different. They have pages to fill every day, week or month. Give them something good to put on them.

Catch that PR request before it slips through your fingers

Catch that PR request before it slips through your fingersYou’ve done all the hard work, developed your strategy, planned your campaign, gathered all your information, identified your target audience, written your press release and distributed it.

You come out of a meeting or leave an area with poor mobile reception and your phone bleeps to say you have voicemail. It’s a journalist who wants a comment on the issue you want to talk about it.

It’s the opportunity you’ve worked for, the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.

Take it. Call back. Fast.

Journalists spend a lot of time trying to get hold of people for comment. If they have a deadline, they’ll probably call the next person on the list and forget you.

They will be very grateful when you do call back. I know I am when I’ve got my journalist hat on. And if they know you call back, they are more likely to call you when they want comment in the future.

Don’t let that chance slip through your fingers and disappear downstream.

What is it worth to you?

It doesn’t matter if you don’t call back . . .

. . . if you don’t want to take advantage of publicity for your business.

In my role as a newspaper writer I continue to wonder at how many businesses lose out on media coverage simply by not returning calls or responding to emails from journalists. If they’ve got more business than they can handle, that’s their decision, but how many businesses are operating at full capacity or don’t need more business?

I know people are busy and can’t always respond instantly, but an attempt to return a call to get a comment or article in the paper at no cost would seem to be worth the effort. Perhaps they think it won’t do them any good.

I know from writing for a local newspaper that editorial does generate enquiries. That’s why many businesses I’ve covered previously contact me again when they have some news they think will interest me.

Perhaps they think they won’t be able to talk about their business coherently. Surely they talk coherently to their customers or else they wouldn’t make any sales. There’s not much difference.

And what if the call is about something negative, such as the horsemeat scandal? If you can comment knowledgeably or have a food business where you can demonstrate traceability and quality, you do have the opportunity to benefit.

So the next time a journalist calls for a comment, take a moment to think about the opportunity and what you want to say before calling them back promptly.


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