The title of my blog post is probably something we take for granted. Of course communication is key. It’s what we spend our internships doing. But working in an environment where I communicate in multiple ways – in person, by phone, by print, electronically, etc. – has forced me to recognize exactly how vital good communication is to accomplishing my objectives.
My job requires me either to call or e-mail editors, reporters, and broadcasters on a regular basis. Usually it’s to promote a press release I wrote. Good communication is the difference between seeing my article published and wondering why my contact hasn’t responded in the past three weeks.
One tip I’ve found increases the likelihood of my message coming across is to call the target’s office number ahead of time, rather than guess at the best contact. If, for example, I wanted to contact the Statesman Journal about volunteer opportunities in the Salem area, I might call the main phone number and ask for an e-mail address. I could e-mail the executive editor, but he might think another reporter is better suited. Calling ahead of times saves me the hassle of guesswork and looks more professional.
Having the right contact information may not suffice, however, without good research on the target’s interests. By tailoring my message to my contact’s local area and making it relevant, I make it more attractive for publication.
Lastly, if my contact hasn’t replied to me in a few days, I follow up by calling to make sure he or she received my e-mail. Many professionals are swamped by e-mails on a regular basis. Doing everything in my power to make my message stand out makes it more likely to be published.