Does Calling The Media Before Submitting a News Release Make a Difference?


You bet it does!

Pre-empting your News Release with a phone call to the news room of your local TV or radio station will give you 3 to 1 odds your PR will be seen before anyone else. If you have written your News Release (a.k.a. “Press Release” or PR) it will be EXPECTED by the newsroom editor. Count on it! They’re looking for news.

Having said that, don’t try to sell them. If your web site fits into the morning show, they will most likely flash it up on the screen while you promote the URL to your audience.

Who is your target audience? The general viewers? Or a “vertical market” of the local demographics?

I’ve been following the direct contact techniques that people use to get publicity with great interest. It’s been a subject of great interest to me and I have written about it for years, and used it successfully to put together some great publicity gigs.

People always ask me if calling the media before submitting a news release makes a difference. I have to repeat, absolutely yes!

Some will tell you to call them after the fact, but if they catch it before your call, and they’re not expecting it, they can trash it faster than a speeding bullet.

I posed a survey of several hundred media executives across the country and have found that they prefer a “heads up” on the phone, or — if nothing else — get their permission by email. I usually put “Permission to send you a News Release” in the subject line and cross my fingers and hope they catch it before they hit the delete key. But, the only time I do that is when I’ve tried unsuccessfully for more than 2 business days to contact them by phone.

The single most important piece of advice given by a majority of media is to call the news room editor first. If you’re calling the news paper, try to find the editor covering your subject. If you’re doing a release on a Public Service event, then you might get away with sending it to the Chief Editor. However, look through their contact list and make sure you’re contacting the right one. Most media — TV, radio, newspapers and magazines — have web sites. Check your local phone book, too.

Some editors don’t like to receive News Releases by email. Some prefer to receive them by fax. Some don’t care. That’s why a phone call ahead makes all the difference.

I covered this in detail just last week in Ten Golden Rules For Using Email To Get Media Coverage.

Take the time to get to know your editors. You’ll thank me for this little piece of wisdom. It has always worked for me.

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