Face-to-Facing Facts

Maddalena Pinto, account manager, Clarion Communications

The world of PR is ever evolving with both journalists and PRs constantly changing their ways of workings, best practices and preferences. So is face-to-face time with journalists still the most effective way to achieve results for clients - or do the telephone and email work just as well, while being more cost-effective?

A long time ago - I am told - PR was all about long lunches and schmoozing journalists for coverage.  And then it was all about hiding behind technology and journalists were only ever contactable by email.  Now in 2012 when staff lists are short and deadlines are constantly looming, journalists are receiving close to a thousand emails, if not more, a day and dedicating no more than 20 seconds to each one - so how effective can email actually be? The telephone is another mode, which in the past has been hailed as the only way to pitch a story, but now I seem to always get voicemails or be redirected to an email address.  So it seems we have come full circle: face to face really is the best way to get someone’s undivided attention even if for five minutes, to pitch your story and get instant feedback.

That said, meeting journalists is often nigh on impossible, as many are tied to their desks doing three people’s jobs but, when you do get them in front of you, it’s an incredible feeling of “it’s just you and me”, while also allowing you to put a name to a face - a luxury most journalists and PRs never get, as so much of the industry has become so faceless.  I find that with every journalist meet, I have a slightly better chance of getting a result than with one I haven’t, and I feel our relationship is that little bit closer.  Perhaps it’s time to move aside from technology and back to investing the time in face to face, while making the job more about relationships rather than how well you write an email or how you sound on a voicemail.

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