Quick Tips – getting PR to communicate with you

What's your favourite communication strategy for PR?

It’s happened to every journalist I know. You need to talk to a PR person to get some piece of critical information and they don’t respond to email or messages promptly. How do you get PR to communicate with you and respond in a timely manner? Here are two tips. One was passed on by a colleague and the other was one I resorted to recently.

1. Check your email for when PR usually sends their messages

This tip was passed on by my friend Zara, the Editor of PC World New Zealand. When you need to send an email to a PR person and want them to respond, search back through your email and look at what time the PR person usually sends their mail to you. This will give you an insight into their work habits and help you find a time they’re more likely to respond to you.

2. Go public

I used this tip just this week. I called a PR agency who had promised me a review unit for a product round up I’m currently writing. As I’d not heard back, I made a call to their office and was told someone would bet back to me within half an hour.

Well over an hour passed and there was no call. So I sent a message over Twitter – in the public tweetstream – making mention of the slow response. Within a few minutes I received a direct message telling me someone was going to call me within the next 15 minutes – a promise that was met.

So – what are your tips for getting PR folks to respond to your requests? Is there a trick that works for you. Please share your tips through the comments below.

Starting out – how to advertise

When you first start out freelancing, it’s important to work at getting new clients. Without clients, there’s no work to do. If there’s no work, there’s no meny coming in. And without money the whole roof over your head and food thing starts to look like a luxury. But how do you advertise and let people know you’re out there?

During the first months of your new business – and you are a business and need to operate like one – you need to work hard at finding new customers and keeping them. That means delivering above and beyond what they expect.

A couple of weeks ago, guest poster David Hague told the story of a motel he stayed at. In case you missed the main points, here’s a summary:

  • deliver great service
  • deliver something unexpected that’s easy to do
  • keep customer records and note what they really liked for when they return

The unexpected thing is the hard one to do and will vary for every customer. It might be providing some extra images with a story or nice packaging if you’re delivering a product. Whatever it is – make it memorable.

Another post over at the Pocket Mojo blog describes a software developer who says the following:

We do not want to annoy you in any way.

Look at your workflow. Is there something you do that forces your customer to change what they want to do to fit in with you? If there is – you need to change it.

So, what’s all this got to do with advertising?

Happy customers become advocates. Every piece of research I’ve read on the topic says that referrals by happy customers are THE best form of advertising. How many times have you purchased a product or hired a tradesperson on the basis of a friend’s recommendation?

Your clients are the best and cheapest advertisers for your business.

What do you do for your clients that helps you stand out? What can you do to get more referral business? Share you thoughts in the comments.

Go the extra mile

This is a guest post by David Hague, editor of AusCam Online. If you want your clients to remember you, this story will tell you what you need to do. You can follow David on Twitter  – he’s @vbthedog

Many years ago, I had occasion to drive from the Gold Coast where I was living at the time to Mackay in northern Queensland – a journey of about 873km (or 542 miles). My younger brother lived there and from time to time I’d make the 12 hour trip for a break.

This particular trip, as I approached Rockhampton at around 4.00 in the afternoon the skies got darker and darker, lighting started flashing interspersed with enormous thunderclaps and the rain started to pelt down. This was now not driving weather.

I stopped at the first motel I came to in Rockhampton – the Country Comfort – and decided to stay the night and finish the journey in the morning.

The service was fabulous, the steak was great and the owners were very friendly – even offering a complimentary port along with a chat.

I got up next morning bright and early to get going. The skies were clear and things were starting to dry out. I got my stuff together, such as it was, and went to the car, to find a leaflet under the windscreen wiper.

We all have foibles about one thing or another and I am not immune from them having a few myself – one being an intense dislike for people who put litter under my windscreen wiper! I ripped it out and was about to screw it up and find a bin when I noticed the motel’s logo on the top. It was a note from a staff member that read,

“We noticed your car was dirty after your trip, so this morning after the rain we took the liberty of washing it and cleaning the windows. Have a safe onward journey”.

I was thoroughly gobsmacked!

This was surely a brilliant example of a business going the extra mile and almost guaranteeing repeat business. But it doesn’t quite end there. Almost 12 months later I made the same trip and made a point of again staying at the Country Comfort. Not only did they remember my name, what wine I drank and the meal I had, they again also washed my car.