Trylon Communications  - Volume I Issue 5
       

How Accessible Are You?

There is little that irritates reporters more than trying unsuccessfully to reach a company contact person to follow up on a press release.  Itís time to take a look at just how accessible you are.  Here are some key issues to address.

First of all, make sure that the contact number on your press release or media kit is a direct line to a live person.  Never intentionally place a journalist into a phone tree or voicemail.  The best of all worlds is to have the actual contact person answer the phone. 

With todayís technology, even the smallest company should be able to answer a journalistís call immediately.  There are programs available that will forward your calls to any number, even programs that can forward to sequential numbers.  That way, if you are not in the office, the call can go to your cell phone, your home, or any number you direct it to Ė even ringing all numbers at once!

Second, have a reliable backup plan.  If the contact person is not available (and the only excuse should be that they are on the phone with another journalist), then designate another employee to provide background and to schedule a return call at the earliest opportunity.  The worst thing you can do to journalists on deadline is to leave them in limbo.  They might immediately can your story and go to another one.

Third, be sure you have collateral material available immediately.  If you have quoted any third parties, keep their contact information close at hand.  Any resources you have used to write a press release should be available as well.  Background information, brochures and catalogs, and any other pertinent material should be ready to be delivered immediately, either over the Internet or via express delivery.  Donít let a story go cold because you arenít prepared.

Fourth, when at all possible make yourself available for live interviews in person.  If the journalist is local, offer to meet them at their offices or at a convenient location of their choice. 

Finally, be sure to  acknowledge and appreciate the attention the journalist has shown you.  Of the hundreds of releases and pitches they got that day, they chose to follow yours.  By being accessible, being prepared, and appreciating their responses you can make the most of your opportunity.