I totally get why journalists and bloggers vent their frustrations about PR people online, and why people would think that could be a valuable source of intelligence about how to better connect with them. But the frequent negativity dampens your confidence, and their generalizations can even lead you away from the very tactics your peers are using to get results.
This was reinforced to me after I recently spoke earlier this month at a conference of PR agency owners. After my speech, the attendees shared stories of their discussions with their teams about boosting their pitching results.
Three of them mentioned a version of this of conversation:
Owner: Have you tried calling them?
Staffer: Well it says on (media database, Twitter, their bio) that they want to get pitches by email.
Owner: Of course it says that – otherwise they’d be overwhelmed with calls.
These business leaders, who sink or swim based on results, naturally understand that earning more than your share of success requires going against the grain. Now depending on your comfort level with the phone in general, you may be recoiling that I’d dare suggest that calling reporters is a good idea.
I happen to think it is, but this isn’t a message about phone pitching. It’s about not ceding your freedom of choice to what journalists and bloggers say or post to faceless masses. It’s about determining what actually works when you do it right.
I don’t blame journalists for making those blanket declarations – I’d do the same in their shoes. But I’d be remiss if I parroted those back to you in these posts when I’m seeing savvy pros reap success by doing the opposite.
No technique is dead – it’s all in the execution.
For example, which would give you a better chance of actually getting noticed when reaching out cold to a top-tier reporter? An email, or a hand-written note?
Sure replying to a handwritten note is harder, but I guarantee you’ll stand out from the pack. Try sending one to your hard-to-reach contacts, then time your email for the day after it arrived.
My takeaway for you is that when you’re seeking insights and resources about pitching better, you should turn to people who are doing it successfully. They’ll be constructive and encouraging, and in addition to the new or vetted approaches you’ll learn, you’ll leave those interactions with confidence and enthusiasm.