Over the past few years, the world of public relations has changed massively. Since our agency was founded over 25 years ago, the speed at which we send and receive information has increased dramatically with the shift from physical letters to emails.
In fact, according to Score, most journalists (48 percent) receive about 100 emails a day; more than one-third get about 200, and nearly 15 percent get between 250 and 499! This means that they are forced to decide in just a few seconds whether your pitch is of interest to them or not.
However, with everything happening so quickly, it can be easy to forget to look up from our screens and embrace some time-honoured traditions of PR that never go out of style.
Pick up the phone – and not just tweet!
It can seem a bit intimidating to call a journalist out of the blue to strike up a conversation, but many of them still appreciate a PR taking the time to give them a call rather than just sending across an email.
It’s a more personal approach and even if they might not always be interested in what you’re pitching them, this gives you much more of an opportunity to find out what they are actually looking for. Not only that, but you’ll get a much quicker answer than you would waiting for a reply to your email pitch!
Go for a drink
In a similar vein of building real relationships with journalists, it’s much easier to get to know someone over a coffee or a drink than it is via an email exchange. Be bold and ask a journalist to meet up to discuss how you can work together in the future – it will give you a great idea of what you might be able to help them with and is an opportunity to showcase what your clients are up to.
Show interest in their work
This seems as though it should be an obvious one, but with the fast pace of modern working life it can sometimes feel as though you don’t have the time to do a lot of research on the journalist you’re pitching. However, by reading their work and finding out what exactly they’re looking for, you’ll save yourself time in the long run as you’ll have a more targeted list to work from.
Also, you can reference their writing in your pitch to show why you thought this idea would appeal to them.
Show that you care
Like in any relationship, showing that you care and paying attention can make a huge impact. Whether it’s sending a little Christmas or birthday gift, a card to congratulate a journalist or client on their new baby, or simply a message to see how they’re settling into their new flat, remembering to celebrate these moments can help build a real friendship.
You’ve done all this work building your relationships, now don’t forget to maintain them! Make sure to keep up with what your journalist friends are doing, how their role might be changing and how you can continue to work together effectively.
Something as little as engaging with them on social media can be a good reminder to make sure you’re front of mind when they’re looking for spokespeople, particularly if you do so by sharing their work to your own network.
In a world where everything happens in the blink of an eye, taking the time to slow things down and really get to know your contacts makes a big difference, and remember that these old school tricks have stuck with us for good reason!