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“No idea” is not a pitch

A journalist recently shared with me her phone conversation she had with a PR executive. Those green in PR can learn a thing or two about this.

You may have the face, but do you have what it takes to pitch?

<Phone Rings and journalist answers>

PR executive: Hello, is this Bong Lee. Can I checked if you have received our email on this automation service?

Journalist: Hello, who’s this? Your number is blocked on your caller ID. You called me, never introduce who you are and you expect me to know who you are? I received thousand of emails a day so which email are you referring? By the way, my name is not Bong Lee, it is Dong Yi.

PR executive: I am calling from ABC PR agency. We send this email about the launch of a automation service and was wondering if you have received our email?

Journalist: Sorry, I was out the whole day. Since you got me on the phone, would you like to pitch to me about this launch?

PR executive: Brand XYZ, our client is launching a new automation service for water floating vehicles. So would you like to attend this event?

Journalist: Automate what? Just because I write about consumer electronics, it doesn’t mean I going for every launch that has electronics in it. Can you tell me what is this brand automating?

PR executive: No idea, I don’t know.

You have to wonder if the PR executive only reason for calling the journalist was just to get her RSVP instead of taking the opportunity to pitch to the journalist.

From the start of the call, you can see that it began on the wrong footing.

One of the peeve that most journalists have and they tell me is that when they call, they never introduce themselves. They just go straight to ask them if they have received the email invitation.

This PR executive shouldn’t be calling this journalist in the first place. Yes, automation may involve some form of electronics. Unless there is a link between this form of automation and consumer electronics, the PR executive should have prepared herself to explain this link.

“I don’t know” is also a bad answer to give. Even if the PR executive didn’t know when making the phone call, she should have just said she would be getting back to him to clarify.

Maybe those entering PR should attend media training from ex-journalists on how to pitch.


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