What to Say to Win Media Exposure
by admin on January 13, 2014
Which would you prefer, a PR team that proactively prepares and calls potential news sources to pitch stories, or one that hides behind a desk sending passive emails and writing releases for newswires?
Obviously, youâ€™d want a proactive team member, but these are few and far between. Why? One word: fear.
One of the biggest obstacles to success in a PR is apathy that comes from anxiety.
The best PR takes a sales mentality, and a sales mentality means cold-calling and making pitches. Many PR professionals are more marketers than salespeople, and the idea of cold calling is terrifying. The good news is that the right preparation goes a long way towards overcoming fearâ€”and towards creating a successful PR strategy.
And the one of the most important steps in preparing for a cold call is to have your script ready.
The PR sales script â€¨
When contacting the media, Iâ€™ve found that a simple script works best to build confidence. Hereâ€™s an example of mine.
â€śHi, my name is Cameron. Do you have a couple of minutes? I think I have a great story for you.â€ť
The writer will say one of the following:
(a) â€śSure. What have you got?â€ť To which Iâ€™ll say: â€śWell, I have this cool story about this [fill in the blank]. Here are a couple of quick bullet points.â€ť Then, being the salesperson that I am, I ask, â€śWhat do you think?â€ť I then continue to ask questions, and listen.
(b) â€śSorry, Iâ€™m on a deadline.â€ť To which Iâ€™ll say: â€śOkay. Iâ€™ll call you tomorrow, or would the day after be better?â€ť Iâ€™ll also take the opportunity to ask what the reporter is working on and listen to what he or she says. From there, Iâ€™ll suggest helpful options for achieving the writerâ€™s goals. By doing this, I achieve my own at the same time. Finally, if possible, I also suggest ways I could share expert comments for the reporterâ€™s current story.
(c) â€śNo.â€ť To which Iâ€™ll respond when the person hang ups on me: â€śOkay, so Iâ€™ll just go grab a cup of coffee, sit down, and call the next person on my list.â€ť Iâ€™m one call closer to a yes!
Talk less, listen more
As the saying goes in sales, you have two ears and one mouthâ€”use them in that ratio! The conversation should go something like this: you ask questions, you listen, you listen, you ask questions, you listen, and you listen some more.
Too many people show up and throw up. Donâ€™t give the writer who answers the phone your entire story. Instead, quickly give the person your first little angle, and then ask, â€śWhat do you think?â€ť The writer will give you an opinion right away, and then youâ€™ll narrow or amend your angle a little bit more or hit the writer with your second angle, or your third angleâ€”which ever fits better. Stay alert and focused on the task at hand.
Sometimes youâ€™ll strike out and not be able to get a hold of someone. The good news is that since youâ€™re on the phone you can leave a voice mail. If I have to leave a voice mail, I usually leave a message like this: â€śHi Susan, this is Cameron Herold. Sorry I missed you, but I think I have a great story angle for you. Iâ€™ll give you a call about it tomorrow. If you have a chance before then, you can call my cell: YYY-XXX-CCCC.â€ť
After connecting with a writer, or after a writer covers you, a follow-up email are fine for thanking him or her. That being said, a handwritten thank-you note to him or her, mailed (as in placed in an envelope with a stamp), is 100 percent better. No one sends thank- you cards to just say thanks anymore, and you shouldâ€”youâ€™ll stand out. Landing Free Publicity is as easy as picking up the phone.