It’s like a handshake . . .
March 8, 2011 1 Comment
When I was growing up, one of the first lessons my dad taught me was very simple. When you meet someone new … stick out your hand …. look them right in the baby blues …. and speak clearly.
The message, of course, is that first impressions matter and you want your first impression to be one of confidence, professionalism and manners. People will not be as drawn to you or interested in working with you if you stare at the floor, mumble or offer a dead-fish handshake.
With that in mind, think of every press pitch you send as a handshake. Sending press releases or making pitches by phone (or on social networking platforms, etc) is the first step in the business of getting news coverage. (step two is securing the interview, step three conducting the interview, four getting it on the air, etc.) Your job is to present that confident, professional demeanor that makes a news organization (be it a radio reporter, a print editor, a blogger) WANT to work with you.
Have confidence that your story is news worthy
Be concise and get to the point
Be knowledgeable and prepared to answer any initial questions
Choose your words carefully (overuse phrases like ALERT, URGENT, BREAKING NEWS and you could wind up in the spam filter)
Be passive (“If you have a few minutes I thought this is a story you might consider . . . ” It’s a good story! Act like it!)
Worry about being a bother. If you call at a bad time or an e-mail isn’t returned, don’t be afraid to ask for a better time to follow up.