There’s nothing more exhilarating for a PR pro then when you call up a journalist and they actually want to talk to your client. Given the average number of phone calls and emails we send out on a daily basis, a batting average of .100 would make you the worst player on the team in Major League Baseball, but a potential All-Star in the PR world.
So, the next time you get a reporter on the phone and they respond to the question, “Would you like to speak with [insert client name here],” with, “Sure, lets talk,” here are six things you should try and ask before you hang up. Of course it always depends on the situation, and your relationship with the reporter, the medium, etc. This is also assuming it isn’t a “get back to me now, I’m on deadline and need a quote asap” kind of call.
1. When are you open to schedule the call/meeting/etc?
2. When is your deadline?
3. When is the publish date?
These next three some reporters will answer, others will not and even at times could be offended by you asking, so tread carefully.
4. Who else are you speaking with for this story? (This obviously gives you an idea of what you’re up against, and can help you tailor your client’s talking points accordingly. Also, some clients may not want to be “lumped in” with people they feel they are unfairly associated with, and may skip out on the opportunity altogether.)
5. Is there a particular angle you’re taking? (Some reporters hate this, but ‘angle’ doesn’t have to be a bad word. Maybe ‘perspective’ goes down easier?)
6. What would you like to know for your story? This is a better way of saying “Can you send me questions in advance?” (Be very careful with this one!)
So there you have it folks. Am I missing anything? Let me know.