The Importance of Urgency

Today, more than ever, reporters and editors measure the response time of their sources in minutes, not hours. Unless you want to miss lots of opportunities for coverage, a real sense of urgency is critical.

Reporters are always approaching us about talking with one client or another. Sometimes it is in response to a news release we sent; sometimes it is the result of the relationships we have with those reporters, which makes them think of us and our clients first.

When we are contacted by a reporter, we kick into urgent mode in order to get the client and the reporter on the phone to make a story happen. The clients who understand the importance of urgency get the results; others, not so much.

A reporter is rarely willing to wait around for a few days while a source checks his or her schedule, or while the client leisurely checks with a subject matter expert to see about an interview. Sometimes you get lucky, and the reporter is actually working ahead a few days and has time. Usually you don’t, and if you don’t get the interview lined up right away, the reporter moves on to another potential source on his or her list.

It’s a lost opportunity, and we hate those.

There’s also the longer term downside. We find that reporters come back again and again to our clients who respond quickly. But when it comes to those who aren’t as responsive, we have to work a lot harder to get reporters to give those clients another chance. Sometimes the reporter simply gives up, and mentally blacklists that client as far as any coverage goes.

A client may ask, “What, do I have to drop everything just to talk to a reporter right now?” And more often than not, if you want coverage, the answer is yes.