How many times have you seen a PR plan that calls for “deskside” briefings with editors in New York? Sounds like a great idea! Schedule a day with the new executive VP of sales and maybe knock off two of these in the morning and a few in the afternoon, updating reporters on your new product release.
Not so fast. A group of writers from AP, Dow Jones Newswire/The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times participating on a conference call arranged via HARO last week said fewer newsroom staffers and demands to fill online – as well as print – space are among the reasons the good ole “deskside” could be a tactic of the past (it even sounds old school, doesn’t it?). Unless, of course, you’re bringing along a high profile CEO or someone with celebrity stature, in which case they’ll gladly make the time and call in the photographer and videographer as well.
Their advice? Skip the deskside offers for now. Instead, spend the time crafting a simple to-the-point email containing your idea for a news story and send it along. And no need for the manufactured “did you get my email?” follow up call. Said Megan Scott of AP: as a rule, taking time out for lunch is simply too long, but a quick coffee at her office is O.K. But – and here’s the caveat – only if you’ve proven to be a valid source one or two times.
There’s no arguing that personal interaction is important, especially in this digital age, and there is a role for such briefings. But the initial meeting as a deskside? Not likely, unless you have an in-demand CEO or a newsworthy figure such as a Gov. Sarah Palin in tow.