How to Not Make a Journalist Hate You When You Call
Sometimes, you need to pick up the phone to talk to a journalist. Maybe you want to follow up on a press release you sent them, or maybe you need to get in touch with them quickly to retract a press release you sent too early or to correct some information you gave them.
Whatever the reason, when you pick up the phone to call a journalist, there are certain rules you need to adhere to. Remember, journalists are a busy bunch, and their phones are ringing off the hook all day long. It’s important that you follow good phone etiquette when you call them so that you can maintain good relationships and avoid being seen as a pest.
So, what can you do to make sure a journalist doesn’t hate you when you call?
Know what you’re going to talk about before calling — Before you pick up the phone, know exactly what you need to tell the journalist. If there are a few things you need to tell them, jot them down on a piece of paper so you stay focused and aren’t struggling to remember what you need to say. Get to the point!
Respect their time — Like I said earlier, journalists are busy, so when you call, they might not have much time to talk to you. Be respectful of this fact and get right to the point when you call. When they answer, ask them if it’s a good time to talk. And if the journalist says he or she can’t talk right now, don’t keep pushing. Find out when a good time to call back is, and let them go back to work.
Get back to them on time — If you’re working with a journalist on story and they need to speak to you by a certain time, make sure that you’re available for them. Get back to the journalist the same day they contact you so that they’re not waiting around for you. The more responsive you are, the better you position yourself to be a regular source for the journalist.
Don’t call journalists who don’t want to be called — Every journalist has his or her own preferred method of being contacted. Some like to use the phone; others don’t. If a reporter doesn’t like to get phone calls, make a note of this on your media list, and don’t call them.
What are some other important things to keep in mind when calling journalists on the phone? Share your tips by commenting below.