When the Media Calls, What Happens?

By Sue Voyles / April 24, 2017 / , ,

Here’s a true story.

A reporter wants to interview two experts for a story he is writing. He knows which organizations he wants to contact for those experts, so he finds them online and searches their website for either an online press room or information so he can make contact.

He cannot easily find a name/phone/email for organization #1, so he calls the general phone number to get the contact information for the person who handles public relations. The receptionist at first doesn’t seem to understand what he is requesting, but after some further dialogue, she transfers his call over to the media relations manager. The reporter leaves a voicemail.

media-interviewWithin 30 minutes, the reporter gets a call back from the publicist at organization #1. The end result is the reporter is connected with an expert in time to interview her for the article’s deadline.

The reporter finds a website for organization #2 and also finds an email (no phone number) to reach out to a public relations pro. Reporter sends an email with the interview request and deadline. A day goes by and there is no response. The reporter sends a second email and that message gets a response. After back and forth on email, the reporter is connected to an expert at organization #2 for an interview.

While writing the story, the reporter has a follow up question for organization #2’s expert. He sends an email and also calls the publicist. Reporter does not get a response by deadline, so the information that the expert provided on that particular aspect of the article does not make it into the final story.

Some things to think about:

  1. When a reporter calls your organization, does your receptionist know who should take that call?
  2. When a journalist searches your website, will she find a press room or information for a contact person who handles media queries?

Moral of the story: if you are looking to get your news out to the media, make it as easy as possible for them to communicate with you and respond to them as quickly as possible. In the scenario above, the journalist who tried again with organization #2 was atypical. After not hearing back on the first day he made contact, most reporters would have just moved on to another source.

When media contact us to connect with a client, we literally drop everything to respond to their request. That’s the benefit of having a responsive and professional PR advisor on your side.

-Sue Voyles