Don’t ever call a journalist to chase up a story. They hate it!
It’s one of the rules so fundamental, it’s not really unwritten!
But you might have to, and if the relationship’s strong and the story newsworthy and relevant, you might get away with it.
There are some simple steps to take if you want a news story to appear in specific publication.
But after all that, no coverage.
If you’re a trainee PR, before you know it your account director is asking for the results and you’ve nothing to show.
Under pressure you pick up the phone again and ask them if they’re going to run the piece. Their irritated response: “If I was interested in the story I would have used it ; but I haven’t, so I’m not!!”. Now they definitely won’t run the piece and they don’t much like you either. Most of us have done it. But, unless we’re really slow learners, only once!
The trouble is you still need the result.
And the truth is you can chase a story but only if a relationship already exists. I did exactly that this week with two different journalists and both responded positively.
So what’s the lesson? Relationships count. Put time and effort in getting to know the journalist and what they need. Build your reputation by consistently delivering good quality material.
Then when you need to bend the ‘rules ‘ a little, they’ll flex with you.
Yes? Then you’ve probably opened up your contact book as the first step. Almost certainly there’ll be the names of people you’ve just worked with on a first project. Convert them into a second and before you know it you’ll have regular work.
Just as certainly there’ll be people you haven’t spoken to for a while, or even years. You did that first project then they just slipped off your agenda.
Failing to warm up a cold client is a big mistake. But letting them get cold after that first project is an even bigger one!
Keep them warm and you’re on the way to developing a great relationship. Warm them up and they’ll probably be more emotionally committed to you and your business than ever.
As with everything in communication, put the person you’re talking with at the heart of the conversation..
Listen to them … actively. Get your head around the issues they care about. Find out what they are trying to achieve. Who do they want to influence? Who do they want to connect with?
Then re-frame your messages so they grab their attention. But don’t lose your authenticity. Relationships are built on trust and you’ll lose it if you’re not authentic.
Finally, connect with them. But do it in a way they get to achieve their goals.
Lorraine Francis and I can help.
I devise and deliver communication and PR programmes and Lorraine forges strategic connections.
We have a simple three step programme to help you warm up cold clients.
Get in touch if you want to warm up your cold clients.