Don't Call Us...

From Charles Arthur, an interesting post about journalists' low tolerance for PR phone calls. Arthur argues that PR people phoning up journalists to ask "Did you get that press release I emailed you?� is useless. If he receives 200 emails a day, he can't acknowledge every time he receives raw information. He takes issue with arguments from PR folks:

�We get required to make those calls by our clients. They want to get feedback on whether the release was useful to you.� It�s part of �measuring� PR�s effectiveness.

Ohhh, I said. Right. But it still doesn�t make sense. Here�s why. Most emails, I�m not going to act on. They�re just content in the wrong context; they don�t make a story. (On average, 1 in 500 emails generates a story directly.) So if you send it and then ask if it was useful, I�m probably going to say no.

Arthur is right that calling up simply to ask if the journalist has received a press release is ridiculous, but that doesn't mean I agree with not following up at all. While every journalist will tell you, "don't call us, we'll call you if we need something," that isn't always acceptable for PR people, or their clients.

On numerous occasions we've called a journalist about a pitch and that has reminded him/her about a story they were already considering. More than anything, it's about finding a balance between keeping your clients happy and building good relationships with journalists, so that they really will call you when they need something.