Ask most public relations professionals what their least favorite part of PR is and the answer is usually the same:  follow-up calls.  There is a legitimate reason for the distaste most feel for the follow-up call and it is pretty straightforward:  Reporters hate them.

Now I know what you are thinking:  “If reporters hate them, then why do them?” It’s simple, really. Reporters are human beings.  It may be true that most of the time the reason the reporter never responded to your pitch is because they were just not interested. But, and this is a really big BUT, sometimes they are genuinely happy you called because they:  a) never got your email; b) accidentally deleted your e-mail;  c) got distracted by some other news bit;  d) forgot.

The point is that reporters are very busy people. Our job as public relations professionals is to help reporters. I know reporters don’t always see it that way, but it truly is one of our main priorities. And in case you have forgotten why it’s important to be helpful to reporters, it’s because they remember it.  Next time they are looking for a story idea they might just come asking you because they know you are easy to work with.

Another reason it is important to make follow-up calls is because it provides an opportunity for some personal communication.  In today’s world, e-mail is the preferred means of communication, and because we are all busy people, it’s understandable. However, taking the time for the occasional conversation is not unwise.  It reminds us why we got into this business in the first place: we like people, and we like communicating!

So, while the chances are fairly good that your follow-up calls may annoy or be ignored, there are those occasions where a reporter is glad you called. And those occasions almost ALWAYS lead to an article!! Well worth the effort, I’d say.  

And remember, that article is much more valuable than an equivalent ad buy, because of the third party objectivity. 

You can’t put a price on that!