Let’s admit it. We’ve all been on the receiving side of a phone call from a person that we have never heard of nor seen in our life, but they surely know everything about us, enough to sell us something at least. How the conversation goes depends on how you feel about what their requesting and their delivery. A majority of us respond well to people who are to the point with a warm, inviting tone. Now, this method won’t always work, but 9 times out of 10, you will accomplish your goal, which is to gain your “target’s” attention.
When I first started cold calling media personnel as an intern, it was a struggle getting through the gatekeeper. This is the first person you speak in trying to connect with your point of contact. Sometimes the gatekeeper will guide you to the right person or give you a generic, point of contact. In the beginning of my cold call experience, I was given many generic phone numbers and e-mails because I didn’t have a plan of execution, or at least one that worked. I quickly learned that a tactical approach with confidence was the only way I was going to pass by the gatekeeper and get to my target point of contact.
Below are five tactics that have helped me perfect my cold call, get pass the gatekeeper and engage with my target point of contact in the media:
Know your facts – I recommend having three to four facts about your client, program, or event when you make cold calls. This will help the gatekeeper and target contact understand the point of the call, and will determine where the call is to be directed. For example, If I am calling a fashion magazine for a client who is a designer, I would have three to four captivating facts that describe the designer, like where he/she is from, where he/she finds inspiration, and the kind of garments he/she creates, to help gain the media’s attention.
Be straight to the point – After you have obtained the media personnel’s attention, get to the core with your pitch. Make sure that the pitch has information that is relevant to that media’s brand.
Be confident- You want to make sure that the topic at-hand is delivered believably, conveying that this is something or someone that the media would like to work with.
Be aggressive, but not demanding – The media does not have to do anything for you, so do not try to demand them to do so. Be aggressive in your pitch, but be understanding if the media is not interested.
- Get some “tough skin”- Keep in mind the media has hundreds of people calling them daily pitching to them. Some media personnel will be warmer and more inviting than others, which can make you feel discouraged, but don’t take it personal.They’re just doing their job by filtering and making the best of their time when answering calls.
These are just some of my tips for pulling off a successful cold call to the media, but I’m always interested in what others are doing. What are some tactics that you use when making cold calls to the media?