There’s no denying that much of the communication we do today is through email. Regular mail’s prominence has been usurped by e-technology.
If you’re like most people, you have to think hard about the last time you sent a personal note by regular mail. You probably sent the note via email. Most of us do.
So what does this have to do with media relations? Actually, it has a lot to do with how to improve your media relations. Read on.
When you work in the media, you receive loads of mail every day. Junk mail. Press releases. Press packages. It never ends. Soon, all the envelopes look the same. Impersonal. Maybe, if you’re lucky, your name is spelled correctly. But, commonly, mail delivered to media is addressed to people who haven’t worked in the office in years.
The amount of personalized mail sent to media — we’re talking about the address and name handwritten on the envelope — has dwindled to become a rarity today. But that’s what makes it such an effective tool today.
In the 1980s, for example, media received lots of letters this way. Your letter was like a needle in a haystack. That’s all changed today. While the crowds flock to email and risk having their messages deleted, regular mail can still command an audience when used strategically.
There’s one type of mail almost every reporter or editor immediately puts on the top of the pile and ALWAYS opens first. You guessed it! It’s the mail that arrives and has the reporter’s name and address in handwriting on the front of the envelope. Why does this type of mail receive priority? It screams PERSONAL. It says it’s from YOU.
When you use this strategy, you are virtually guaranteed to get the attention of a reporter or editor. Personally addressing mail is a ridiculously simple but overlooked tactic when dealing with media. Reporters’ curiosity is always raised when an envelope arrives in this manner. Is it a hot tip? Reader feedback? Leaked documents?
Just make sure your personalization doesn’t begin and end with the exterior of the envelope. You can get a reporter to open an envelope, but if what’s inside is not interesting, your letter will end up in the recycling box fast.
This is a technique that is meant for zeroing in on specific reporters. As Step 2, you follow up with a phone call several days later. If the reporter is at his/her desk, your name should ring a bell when it pops up on Call Display, or if you leave a message on voice mail.
Obviously, if you’re mailing out hundreds of press packages, you won’t be able to personally write names and addresses on hundreds of envelopes. That’s not the point here.
The point is this: as some methods of communications appear to be in decline, they can actually be used as a strength in relationship building.
Grab a pen, grab an envelope and start writing!