Pick Up the Phone!

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We all have a device right close at hand that allows us to contact the media. It’s called a telephone. Alexander Graham

Bell went to so much trouble to invent it and we don’t use it

nearly enough.

Awhile ago I approached a reporter about a story using one of my

restaurant clients. He liked the idea and told me to have my

client call him directly.

I briefed my client on the pitch and told him to call the reporter. A few days later I asked my client how it went and

this is how the conversation ran:

How was the interview?

What interview?

The interview with the Newspaper.

Oh, he didn’t want to talk to me.

But he told me to have you call him.

Well, I called him once and he never called back.

So my client called him once and never called again. He actually assumed the reporter would drop everything and

immediately return the call. When he didn’t, my client dropped it. Fortunately, I was able to patch things up and set up the interview.

So often people just don’t call or call just once. Either they really believe the media will call back or they are so arrogant they expect the media to contact them. Of course, if you are one of the industry’s superstars, the media will

contact you. But even then, you have to be available.

I always tell my clients, the person who stands to gain

the most has to make the first move; in this case, the

phone call.

So many people are fearful of contacting the media. Really,

what is the worst that can possibly happen? Do you expect

reporters to gather on your doorstep waving torches and

muttering curses? Of course, not. The worst that can happen

is they will say “no.” Isn’t that terrible, they will say no. Mr. Restaurateur, you own a restaurant, you know how to

deal with people or, at least, you should. Are you so delicate that you can’t bear to be told no?

I would be the last person to tell you to make a nuisance of

yourself, calling every hour on the hour. But I frequently

call once, leave a message and then when they don’t call back, I call again. But when I make repeat calls, I leave no

message and hang up if they don’t answer. That way, they

don’t get so many messages they feel I’m stalking them. And

if they don’t answer, why leave another message? I wait

until I’m lucky enough to speak to them and then go into my


The important thing to remember here is you must make the call in the first place. There are very many people wanting

publicity and only a comparatively small number of people who

can give us that publicity.

Another thing to remember is to be available at the reporter’s

convenience, not yours. Remember: many of us and few of

them. They don’t have to interview you, they can easily

interview your competitor down the street who makes things

easy for them.

A number of years ago I had a client who had been the recipient of a good deal of publicity and it went to her head. I called her one afternoon at home with the happy news

that one of the top New York papers wanted to interview her

that day. She didn’t want to do it because she was waxing

her legs! Couldn’t the reporter do it another day? I

explained that no, he couldn’t and she finally agreed to come

into Manhattan for the interview (two pages).

So, remember, please: you make the call and you make yourself available at his convenience, not yours.

Pick Up the Phone!black t shirt|

write by rogers

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