Pleasantly Persistent PR Blog
Yes, It's an Email-Centered World,
but Phone Pitching Is Still Important
December 15, 2021
Making a phone call is to Millenials today what sending a telegraph was to Baby Boomers fifty years ago - antiquated technology that seems simultaneously silly and daunting to use. But the difference between the two is that phone calls are still relevant today, and even important, particularly in the world of public relations.

While many PR professionals, especially those in my age bracket and younger, will use their phone for every purpose except placing phone calls, I'm here to say: use your phone for its primary intended purpose - to talk to an actual human being on the other end! I know, totally nuts.

I recently received an award from a PR professional organization as an honorable mention in the category of the Best Pitches of 2021. This was based on a phone pitch I did for a client who landed an interview on Yahoo Finance. So here's my thoughts on why even in our text- and email-centered world, phone pitching is still important.
#1 Phone Calls Allow You to Pivot Quickly in the Conversation
Sending an email pitch is almost always a one-way street. You send the information to the recipient - often a producer or journalist - and usually don't hear back. On the phone, of course, the conversation is characterized by back and forth communications and this is where the magic can happen.

Specifically, the media contact may ask questions and your answers can improve the chances of booking an interview. For my client featured on Yahoo Finance, Eric Pierre, I had sent several emails to the media contact at Yahoo Finance talking up his bona fides as a tax professional. In this series of email correspondence I cited Eric's ability to speak on Biden's new tax plan, government stimulus checks, tax season 2021, overall tax strategy and loopholes, stimulus checks, PPPs, employee retention credit, and other tax topics.

When I spoke with her on the phone, I reiterated all of this - but she stopped me. She asked if Eric could talk about crypto and Bitcoin. My response was a resounding yes! I told her that he actually just did an interview on CoinDesk on these very topics. I sent her his CoinDesk clip and that sealed the deal.
A phone call allows you to do something you can't over email: sort out the specifics of aligning the media outlet's needs with your client's expertise in real time.
The point is that in all of the email work I had done leading up to our phone call, I hadn't mentioned the exact topic she was looking for at the precise moment she was looking for it. During a phone conversation, this problem is avoided. You can sort out the specifics of aligning the media outlet's needs with your client's expertise in real time.
#2 Phone Calls Make It More Likely the Person Will Read Your Emails
This may seem counterintuitive, but your emails are more likely to be read by the recipient if you talk to them on the phone. These media contacts get scores if not hundreds of email pitches a day. They also have other responsibilities besides reading emails and booking guests. So it is understandable that they are not going to necessarily read the pitch you worked so hard to craft and send their way.

But if you get them on the phone, they are likely to read the emails. Here's what happened with the Yahoo Finance interview as an example.

I got the contact on the phone and said I had been sending her emails in recent weeks. She did a search and all of my emails came up. As I was reiterating what was in the emails, she was reading them. As you might guess, what I was telling her on the phone about Eric's credentials and abilities as a subject matter expert had greater legitimacy because she saw all of the correspondence I had sent over the previous weeks that indicated just that. If I hadn't called her, she might not have read any of the emails, or at the very least, she likely wouldn't have responded to them by booking him as a guest.
#3 Phone Calls and Emails Work Together
Phone calls and emails, as the example above illustrates, work together synergistically. It's hard to book interviews without both calling and emailing. When you get media contacts on the phone, they may read your emails for the first time, or your conversation will refresh their memory of your emails. In either case, your pitch will have more credibility and is more likely to result in a booking when you go the email-phone route.

This approach coincides with a larger, general rule of PR and marketing: the most successful campaigns are multi-pronged. When it comes to pitching, phone calls and emails are two of your most important prongs.
#4 Phone Calls Are More Personal
Maybe part of the reason some people are uncomfortable talking on the phone is because it is more personal than shooting off an email. You hear the person's voice; they hear yours. You share some intimacy simply in the contemporaneous exchange of ideas. I don't know exactly why people are reluctant to use the phone, and excuse the armchair psychology, but in any case phone calls will almost always make you more memorable to a media contact because they are more personal than emails.

When I talk to media professionals on the phone, especially after I have been sending them emails, I laugh and say, "I'm not a bot. I'm actually a real person."

I think they like this. There is almost a novelty now in picking up the phone and calling a media contact. You are also more likely to generate an ongoing relationship with the contact, which besides the upside of simply getting to know someone, this can be useful for future campaigns.
In sum, one of the reasons I'm a superstar publicist is because I pick up the phone to speak with and nurture media relations. Reach out to me today to learn more about how my years as a publicist who actually uses the phone to make phone calls can improve your book's publicity.
Feel free to contact me
Julia Brown
Book publicist
Phone: +1 619-888-7956
Made on