Millennials have a reputation for always having their phones in their hand, using them for everything from banking and shopping to selfies and social media. Yet they appear to have a deep-rooted fear of making phone calls.
Those wanting a bright future in PR need to face their fears, because one of the most successful ways to build relationships with journalists and bag that all important coverage is a phone sell in.
Below are some top tips for getting over phone fear and mastering your pitch…
Confidence is key
It’s easy to get caught up in thinking that your phone calls are bothering busy journalists, especially after you’ve caught someone on a bad day and they’ve slammed the phone down. This is because journalists are under a lot of pressure with a higher demand for as-it happens-news combined with budget cuts which results in much less time to go out and find stories themselves. This is where PRs come in! Your press release can ease their burden and help them hit targets and, according to PR Week, 94% of journalists insist a press release is a good source for a story. So make sure you start your calls with a positive mindset, you’re not a burden and journalists want/need to hear from you. It’s also key to remember that you can hear a smile. If you don’t sound interested in what you’re saying, why would anyone else be?
Know your media
If you want someone to take the time to listen to your pitch, then you need to have read the magazine/ newspaper or listened to the radio/tv show that your pitching to, and what that journalist reports on. If you’re pitching a lifestyle release to a journo that covers science and technology then you’re just going to be wasting everyone’s time and burning bridges. Journalists love to know that you’ve read what they write and you’ve chosen to pitch to them for a reason so do your research!
Keep it relevant
Don’t start your pitch by mentioning the client. Keep it to the story on the phone and you can mention who the data is from in your emails afterward. It’s important that the journalist knows you’re coming to them with good content and not just a way to get your client mentioned in the paper. It also helps to get straight to the point and give your top-line wow stats first. The sooner you get them hooked, the more likely they are to keep listening.
Plan your pitch
Write down what you’re going to say. It’s so easy, once someone answers the phone to get your pitch muddled up and talk for too long. If you write down what you’re going to say it’s so much easier to remember it and stay on track. When you write down your pitch it also gives you a chance to consider key information and the best way to get your story across.
Confirm the details
Once you’ve pitched and the journalist has given you their email address, make sure you have taken it down correctly. Check the spelling of their name – if you’re unsure ask them to confirm. It’s also good to thank the journalist by name, it adds a personal touch and shows that you were listening to them and not just pitching your story.
By Alishea Barkley | Junior Media and Influencer Marketing Executive