One of my subscribers has an interesting situation. Here’s what he has to say:

Paul –

I recently bought your “deluxe” publicity course. Let me start by saying it’s better than I expected!

First a little background. One of the points you keep driving home in the course is that the media people must be able to reach the publicity seeker when they call.

Then I noticed that you said when you did the Brooklyn Bridge campaign, the media was chasing you down at the hospital where you worked.

Here’s my question. I’m currently working on a full time contract. In other words, it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to give media interviews using my number at the client site. However, if I give my home phone number, the media person will reach my machine or worse one of my kids. (Not that my kids are bad. They’re just not real good about relaying messages and they would be totally clueless about the content of a press release.)

How should I handle this? Should I use the number at my client site and then schedule a good time to conduct the interview? Is there a better way?

Thanks.

Here was my reply to him:

One of the most important points to keep in mind when you’re working on getting publicity is keeping everything very professional. That includes the way reporters are to leave messages for you.

In the situation my subscriber describes I’d *strongly* recommend getting an additional phone number and a viocemail service to take calls from the media. Under no circumstances would I use the client’s phone number or his home phone number.

There are several ways to get the additional phone number and voicemail service.

The first – and probably easiest – is to go to Wal-Mart and buy a Net10 cell phone. They cost $30 and come with $30 worth of airtime. So the phone is actually free.

You only pay for the time you use at 10 cents a minute. So for thirty bucks you have your own press release answering service with your own, unique phone number right in your pocket.

Another option is to search the Internet for services that provide you with voice mail on a month-by-month basis. There are *many* such services. Just search ‘voice mail services’ ‘telephone answering services’, etc. They usually charge very little. I’ve seen them for as little as $9.95 a month.

You do NOT want an order-taking service. They can be very expensive. You want a very simple, basic voicemail service. (Note: Please don’t ask me to recommend a service. You have to review each service, the price, what they offer, etc. and use the one that’s best for you.)

One important point if you decide to go this way. Never use a service that only gives you an extension number – for example 555-333-8888 ext. 3071. Only use a service that gives you a direct number.

When a person calls your number, they get your recorded message. You can check your messages as often as you’d like from wherever you are.

When a reporter calls you, return the call promptly and schedule your interview.

Another option is getting an additional phone line and voicemail machine installed in your home just for your publicity/business ventures. This is the option I strongly recommend and the one I use myself.

When you do your interviews, you can do them from any phone, anywhere, as long as it’s quiet. I’ve done interviews from restaurants, hotels, my car, my home, friends homes and even from a cruise ship.

The first impression a reporter gets about you is from your press release. The second impression is from the contact they have with you on the phone. Answering machines and voicemail aren’t a problem as long as the message is professional and the follow-up calls are quick.

This is such an important topic, I’ll have more about it in the next post. Thanks to my subscriber for bring it up!

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  1. Nino the Magician Says:

    Hi Paul. As a quick phone line solution tip, I’m sure some readers are using this technique, but for those who don’t,I have a home phone package for approx $40 that includes unlimited nationwide calling.

    This I use to send out releases (approx 200 per month!)with my computer “WinFax” program that saves me tons of money! Some say there are other fax programs that are better. This sure beats manually sending pages by hand.
    And I use my cell phone as a Contact Number on the releases with a quick professional message for clients and the press.

    Hope this helps?
    Nino the Magician

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