There are many ways to connect with journalists without talking to them, and none can match the value of speaking one on one—in person or on the phone.
When you converse with someone, you can pick up nuanced cues—body language in person, vocal inflections on the phone—and you gain context that you wouldn’t via digital means. Perhaps more important, nothing enables relationship-building like the human touch, and digital communications fall short in that regard.
Above all, being human is the foundation of relationship-building.
So, what does happen when you speak to a journalist?
1. Your call will be given more attention. Even if your phone call lasts less than three minutes and the reporter is curt at the outset, just the fact that you’ve talked increases the likelihood that the reporter will remember your points. It’s also likelier that your contributions will result in coverage.