Cold call, raw nerve

19 Apr

This BBC feature on how to cope with cold calling salespeople obviously hits a raw nerve (just look at the reader contributions).

I find that PR practitioners tend to pay attention when told that their approaches to the media are often the same: unsolicited commercial sales pitches. Journalists want compelling news, but some unsophisticated clients think they’re buying an outbound telesales team rather than a PR consultancy.

One Response to “Cold call, raw nerve”

  1. Paul Amourdedieu 06/05/2004 at 3:03 pm #

    Does this still happen? Strange…
    Yes, it is a fact of the industry in which we work that clients want results. Yes, we are a results oriented profession and yes, on occasion, clients can be slightly misguided in their expectations.
    However, it is the job of the practitioner /consultancy to advise and educate these clients on the various PR functions. It is our job to advise on /develop strategic plans which, as well as fulfilling the other communications criteria, will open discussions either of interest to the target media or that relate to the news agenda.
    If this isn’t the case then the practitioner is either not doing their job properly or being bullied by a client who may, as you say, be unsophisticated to the role… though I don’t feel they can be fully blamed. No, we all need to take responsibility for our own actions – Practitioners included.
    Many journalists still do have a negative perception of some areas of PR. But who can blame them when, on too many occasions, they receive a ‘batch-faxed’ release and a call from a PR about a story that (either isn’t really a story at all, or) has absolutely nothing to do with them? – It can be seen as both a waste of time and, occasionally, a lack of respect. An effective practitioner will have good knowledge of the media they are targeting as well as understanding what is of interest to the readers. This knowledge and respect is what breeds strong relationships.
    Distributing ‘crap’ to the media not only affects the clients reputation but also impacts our own, for this reason it is essential we are comfortable with the stories /information we are distributing – and that the correct journalist receives it(!)
    It is our job as PR practitioners to properly educate clients to the role of public relations and in particular the impact of effective, as well as bad, media relations. How do we do this? Put simply, I believe it is by producing campaigns that are of interest to the target audience and the appropriate media, securing positive results and demonstrating this successful approach to clients.

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