I recently came across a poll in a LinkedIn group that I belong to asking Boston PR pros what their preferred method of pitching the media was. To my surprise, phone pitching came in dead last. But that’s right where it should be.
It was a surprise because I think one of the biggest misconceptions in PR is that calling a reporter is the best way to get their attention. It used to be. I’m sure that I’m partial because I don’t know anything other than the social media era, but here’s my case for ditching the phone.
Besides a handful of key reporters at top daily newspapers, most of the top publications are blogs and most of the top influencers are bloggers. These publications don’t work like the old school, traditional publications. You don’t call up Mashable and ask to speak with Todd, and you certainly don’t call up TechCrunch and ask for Erick. The majority of today’s reporters work with a laptop and a cell phone. PR is all about relationships, and you certainly don’t start building a good one by cold-calling someone’s personal cell phone to pitch them the latest point release to your game changing iPhone app. Plus, fewer and fewer real phone numbers are being listed in databases like Cision, so even if you did want to make a call, the information needed to do so isn’t always available.
I will admit that there is a time and a place for calling a reporter, but that should only come with really good news and an even better relationship.
Email, and especially social media, are the best tools for effective pitching. Sure there’s a ton of noise online and reporters get a million pitches everyday in their inbox, but if you do your research, have good news and tell a good story, your pitch will make it’s way through the clutter. It’s just not as easy as just sending a tweet or an email.
The best part is that if you do it right, you’ll end up with a phone number and the OK to call next time you have something good.
What do you think? Is the phone dead? What are your go-to resources for pitching?