Hey I Just Pitched You, and This is Crazy. I’ve Got Your Number, so Call You Maybe?

by Pat Gotham on June 21, 2012

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I recently attended a panel discussion of technology journalists from publications such as Engadget, DVICE, Men’s Fitness, ABC News and Maxim, and the conversation quickly turned to how the landscape of journalism is changing, which affects how we as PR professionals interact with different publications to secure coverage for our clients. Throughout the panel, I noticed that there seemed to be two “teams” forming based on their opinions: the younger journalists and the journalists who had been in the profession for a considerable tenure. It got me to thinking about how we as PR pros need to be able to understand what is going on in the minds of journalists.

The most discussed topic centered on phone calls. Some of the journalists on the panel welcomed phone calls after being pitched via email, while others said they go to great lengths to ensure their number isn’t made public. One journalist noted that he receives over 100 emails each morning, and most of those are PR pitches that aren’t relevant to him. As a result, some pertinent emails get lost in the shuffle, and a phone call will help make sure the right information is noticed.

Shortly after, a different member of the panel mentioned he also receives about 100 emails each morning but feels that phone calls slow him down from finding the emails for which he wants to read and respond. The panel generally noted that younger journalists tend to adopt this style, while those that have been in the game longer still entertain phone calls.

Further exploring the differences between newer journalists and seasoned pros, the topic of social media was brought up. For this platform, the younger journalists were more open to connecting with PR pros via social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter, while the others preferred to only use social media for their personal lives.

As I mentioned earlier, the two schools of thought being presented by the panel got me to thinking about change. Let’s face it; the field of public relations is always changing, so this is nothing new to us.  However, we need to be cognizant of what exactly those moving parts are in order to stay on the top of our game.

So we may not ever move completely to social media pitching just as phone pitching may not ever become obsolete, but we do need to understand that at this point in time with technology, different journalists prefer different modes of communication.

Do you have any experiences with feedback from journalists on how they prefer to be contacted? Share in the comments below!

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