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  • Writer's pictureAlexson Calahan

Making the most of inbound media calls

When we first get into public relations, we spend our days emailing, pitching, following up, and repeating. Once you've started to establish yourself as a credible and helpful source for media, you start to get inbound media calls. These can be disruptive to your day or a crisis in the making for those caught unprepared, but when you anticipate these calls and proactively plan to capitalize on them, you can make some real PR magic.

Here are my four steps to maximizing inbound media requests:

  1. Celebrate! Heck, yes! A member of the press had you and your organization top of mind when it comes to adding value on this topic. It's OK to give yourself a high five for this great positioning work before moving on.

  2. Be professional. This journalist reached out because they need your support to create a valuable story for their audience. Be respectful of their time and deadlines, ensuring you provide resources in helpful ways. This means acknowledging when you will be unable to meet a deadline, suggesting other experts who may be available, being prepared to schedule with your expert in a reasonable timeframe, providing b-roll and photos in required formats, and being transparent when the organization is unable to provide further insight.

  3. Dig Deep. When a journalist calls, be smart about your time with them. You should have a solid grasp on them (or quickly get up to speed) so you can understand their writing style and general tone, and ascertain if this will be a positive or negative story, and prepare accordingly. Use the opportunity to get key details on the story:

    1. What is their deadline?

    2. What other experts are the speaking to for it?

    3. Why is now the time to tell this story?

  4. Go big. When we get an inbound media call, we don't simply answer questions, connect with experts, and move on with our days. We use this chance to imagine what we'd want included in this story if we had pitched it. Just because we didn't come up with this story idea doesn't mean it cannot move our goals forward. Consider perspectives, resources, b-roll, assets, and knowledge that would deepen the audience's understanding of this issue and offer those to the journalist. They may not always have bandwidth to utilize them, but it builds relationship and makes for more robust stories when accepted.

These four steps are the start to making the most of inbound media calls. For further support, be sure to reach out to us at Small Adventures Communications!

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