Big PR agencies seem to be the worst offenders when it comes to following up on news releases.
They usually assign a woman who sounds like an 18-year-old twinkie to call reporters and editors after the agency has mailed a release. The twinkie, usually using an annoying sing-songy voice, says:
“Hi. This is Brittany. I’m just calling to see if you received the news release we mailed earlier this week on the ABC Widget Company and if you can tell us when it will be printed.”
Why are Brittany and her bosses clueless?
—Because busy reporters will seldom drop what they’re doing to search the newsroom, which resembles a paper jungle, for your release.
—Because Brittany has no clue that reporters are on deadline, and that’s when she makes many of her calls.
—Because reporters and editors often don’t know the exact date that a news release will be printed. Sometimes it depends on how big the newspaper is on a particular day. And that’s determined by how many ads were sold.
—Because the media usually get a dozen calls a day from people asking these same dumb questions.
—Because if you’re trying to a catch a reporter’s attention, the best way to do it is to call when they’re off deadline.
—Because PR firms are ripping off their clients by charging them an hourly rate for performing this useless task. In fact, not only does the PR firm look clueless, but the media think the client is guilty by association.
Jill Lublin interviewed media people for their best suggestions, then shared them during a teleseminar I hosted called “Failproof Ways to Follow up After Sending a News Release or Story Pitch” a few years ago.
Jill says that if you must follow up, call a reporter and say that you sent information on whatever the topic is, then offer an unusual angle they can take, or additional sources they can contact, or the local angle, or something else that only that media outlet will be interested in.