We live in such a wondrous, socially connected age. We’re connected to so many people and organizations, and the two-way communication seems like a miracle, like nirvana almost. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest are such powerful social forces that it’s hard to remember how lonely and desolate we were before they became part of our daily lives.
And they’ve made it so easy for us to hide from the terrors of one-on-one communication.
For instance, if you’re a PR professional, you no longer have to be bothered by awkward one-on-one exchanges with journalists who might want to cover your organization; you can just choose to not include direct contact information in your news releases and company Web pages. If journalists want to connect with you directly, well, let them find you on LinkedIn or Twitter, right?
It’s become fairly common practice for news releases to go out without contact information for a particular PR person, and for company websites to list a catch-all email form as the sole email contact for PR. And that's exactly the wrong thing to do if you actually want to earn media coverage. Journalists don’t like it one bit, says Pamela Baker-Masson, associate director of communications for the Smithsonian National Zoo.
Baker-Masson reached out—individually—to some of her journalist contacts to find out exactly what kinds of contact information they insist on in news releases and company websites. Include this information in all your materials if you truly want to hear from them and if you have no fear of personal contact.
Journalists have to be able to find you. They want:
- Specific contact information: This should include a first and last name and job title so they know who they’re dealing with.
- A phone number: This needs to be a phone number with a real, live person on the other end who will actually answer the phone when it rings.
- An email address: "firstname.lastname@example.org" is not an email address to a journalist—it’s a red flag.
Follow Steve Goldstein: @SGoldsteinAI