Most good PR professionals know how to work the phone and email, constantly pitching to journalists and editors and hopefully getting them to buy into whatever they have to say that particular day of the week. But is this style of ‘cold call’ or ‘drive by’ PR actually the most efficient or effective use of your time?
How many sales calls or email pitches do you personally ignore, cut-short, delete without a thought – before ploughing through your contact list blindly pitching in the hope that something sticks?
Here’s a hint. Journalists hate this cold approach to pitching. It is untargeted, untimely and ultimately does more to destroy your reputation than win any new friends for your clients. In some cases, persistent drive by pitching is borderline harassment. If it’s a practice you personally indulge in, you might find yourself wondering why your calls go unanswered and emails are never returned.
Hint: It’s not OK to get stroppy with a journalist because they never return your calls. If they have never really engaged with you before on a professional level – they really owe you nothing and if you continue to ‘spam’ them, your pitches will be treated as such.
So what’s the point of having a contact list if you’re not going to work it?
Well that depends on how you are going to work it.
A decent contact list should be seen as the starting point of conversation that leads to a real relationship – and make no mistake, a good PR relationship needs to be worked on.
Pick-up the phone or send an email – but before you pitch do your research, use Vuelio’s Media Database to check out your target contact’s social media profiles, scan their posts, read their articles and work out what makes them tick. Then when the time is right – contact them to ask a question and learn something new about them.
Compliment them, tell them you’ve enjoyed their work and ask them about what projects they are currently working on and if there is anything you can help them with – it’s amazing how, when you have this information to hand, great things can happen. In the perfect world you’ll have shared a cup of coffee with your contact (even if that coffee is shared on Skype) before you start pitching.
When you build relationships, phone calls get answered, emails get returned and cold call PR suddenly becomes warm call PR.
How have you nurtured your contact lists before going in for the kill and pitching?