It’s not uncommon for media people I know to express frustration with professionals who respond to their queries
on HARO and similar sites and then become impossible to reach. Now I realize many
of you have very busy days, but if a journalist wants to interview you,
jump! If you don't,
you are likely to miss out on the publicity opportunity, because most journalists are working on tight deadlines and can’t afford to wait around to see if they are
going to hear back from you.
It’s not at all difficult to ensure that you are able to respond quickly to an interview opportunity. Mostly it’s a matter of putting some very simple systems in place:
• Leave an alternative number on your office voicemail message that a journalist can call when you are out of the office. It might be your cell phone number or the number of your assistant, for example. You may also want to mention in your message that you can be reached via text and email and to include your email address in the recorded message.
• Make sure that your email signature includes all of your contact information. That same information should be on your website too.
• Check your voice mail, email inbox and texts regularly. Promptly respond to any queries from the media.
• Train your receptionist or assistant on how to respond when a journalist reaches out to you. For example, it goes without saying that they should write down the name of the person who wants to interview you and how best for you to reach him or her. Your receptionist or assistant should also know to record the name of the outlet the journalist is working for and to find out how quickly that person needs to talk to you. You should also instruct your receptionist or assistant to share all of this information with you immediately so you can jump on the opportunity for publicity.
Finally, if you speak to a journalist and you cannot be of help to him or her, always try to put that person in touch with someone who can. Being helpful is a good way to build goodwill with journalists and increases the likelihood that you will have another shot at an interview sometime in the future.
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