If you send out a press release and reporters call only to get your voicemail machine, will that cause you a problem?

There are several answers to that question.

Media people have become very used to voicemail. So the fact that they got your voicemail is not a problem. The problem is with the message on that machine. Let me give you three scenarios.

In the first scenario a reporter calls and gets the following message:

‘You’ve reached the office of Dr. Paul Hartunian. Please leave your name and number and your call will be returned within one hour.’

A perfect message and not the slightest problem with the vast majority of reporters.

Will some reporters be turned off by voicemail? Sure. You’ll never please everyone. Fortunately they are few and far between.

In the second scenario, the message sounds like this:

‘Hi. You’ve reached the Hartunian family – Mary, Paul, Milo, Nicky, Robbie and Bandit. We’re not in but if you leave your name and phone number one of us will call you back as soon as we can.’

Now we’ve got a problem. Some reporters aren’t going to leave a message. You’ve lost your opportunity to do an interview with that reporter.

Run your business like a business. That means getting a separate phone line for your business, or at least having a professional message on your family voicemail. For example, you may simply say ‘You’ve reached 908-362-7130. Please leave and message and your call will be returned promptly.’

Now the third scenario.

A while back we got a call from one of my new members. He told us that my publicity system wasn’t working for him.

I asked him to fax me a copy of the press release he sent out. It was superb. He followed my system to the letter. That wasn’t the problem.

Then I called the phone number that was on his release. The message was something like this:

(in a 9 year old voice) ‘Hi, this is Tiffany. Mom and Dad are out somewhere and I have tap lessons, so if you want to talk to us call back later or leave your phone number. We’ll call you when we can.’

Problem solved!

Moral: If you don’t have a separate phone line for your business (which I HIGHLY recommend), at least be sure to have a calm, professional message on your home machine.

Reporters aren’t concerned about getting voicemail. It’s the message that makes all the difference.

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