We’ve all experienced the dreaded phone pitch – you muster up the courage to call a reporter only to get told that you need to email them your pitch.
So why pitch a reporter via phone in the first place? Well, for a few reasons: it gives you a chance to show how passionate you are about the topic at hand, it gives the reporter a chance to put a voice with your name and story, and a phone pitch is much more interesting than an email pitch. Reporters get so many emails and (to be honest) it’s sometimes boring having to read them. In fact, I’ve had several reporters say to me “It’s good to have someone call me – no one calls me anymore.”
Here are a few tips to help you succeed when pitching a reporter over the phone:
1. Be respectful of their time. The reporter may be on DEADLINE. If they ask you to call back because they’re strapped for time, call back later. It is as simple as that. Do not keep them on the phone – that will cause them to disregard any of your follow ups.
2. Know what you’re talking about. Please do NOT pick up the phone and completely forget what you’re talking about. It won’t create a good first impression with the reporter. Research what you’re pitching and make sure you know everything there is to know about your pitch in case the reporter starts asking YOU questions. If you’re the PR pro, you need to know the issue at hand.
3. Write a script. This practice will definitely help if you’re nervous about pitching over the phone. Bullet point the facts you want to convey to the reporter. Since you’ve prepared beforehand, you won’t miss anything important. But don’t read a script – it’s got to be natural.
4. Practice. If you’re truly nervous (even after drafting up important bullet points), get a buddy or a supervisor to help you practice – usually, someone will be willing to help out and play a reporter.
5. Be confident. This is usually where people get stuck. They get nervous because they think the call will be their only shot at getting the reporter’s interest. Well, stop. This isn’t your ONLY shot. There will be others. And to avoid sounding nervous, “Fake it till you make it”! If you act like you’re confident, you’ll most definitely come off as confident.
What tips do you have? Share them below!