One of the most common arguments for not using a PR agency is the belief that anyone can pick up the phone and talk to a journalist. How hard can it be? But, journalists are just like other professionals - they like to work with people that understand the craftmanship and the special needs and criteria that make a good news story - pereferably someone who also understands mutiple media formats. It's not all about interviews.
Link: Read the full Forbes article by Nicole Rodrigues where four practises are shared for those of you who prefer to go about without a PR agency. It's generous advice from a very experienced PR expert. And as a great extra this Forbes article also link to a hillerious Rolling Stone interview with Johnny Depp, where he made the big mistake to let his lawyer, instead of his experienced publicist, contact the reporter at Rolling Stone magazine.
Also: Here are my two bonus advices for this who think they will manage without a PR professional:
Timings, vocabulary and credibility are important. The understanding what constitues a journalistic news story is essential in order to have a meaningful dialogue with a journalist who normally is in a hurry some 12 hours a day. Whats the story? What's new? Why should I care? These questions need to have good answers, and you should have prepared yourself well before you make the call. Make sure you can deliver key messages and "Sell your story" in less than 10 seconds.
Understand the basic editorial routines and needs. For example, do you have a useful photo that captures the essence of the news story? No image, or an irrelevant image, will not help you get your story published. But, to the contrary, a very good photo might be the reason why your news story gets published in the end. Sometimes the actual story sits in the image. Never underestimate the need for really good visuals.