The art of the media pitch is a difficult skill to master. Media pitching begins with a newsworthy story, customized media list and, typically, a strategically crafted email. After delivering what you think is a brilliant, personalized pitch, reporters may take hold of the idea or may not even respond. Many PR pros debate the question of whether to follow up or not after a lack of response. Reporters and journalists, in most cases, do not have time to respond if they are uninterested or if the pitch came at the wrong time.
So, should you make a follow-up call? Do you send another email? What’s next?
Inbox overload. Emails can often fall through the cracks. Journalists and reporters can receive hundreds or thousands of emails per day. If they didn’t respond, don’t assume they aren’t interested. Refresh their memory in an engaging way, such as including a trending data point or reframing your hook.
A second chance. A follow-up call allows you to reframe your pitch. If they didn’t respond well to the original pitch, change your angle and try to reframe your pitch in a different or more newsworthy way. Do your research on each journalist and tailor your story according to his or her particular beat or content produced on the media outlet.
Assignments change. Journalists often switch beats and cover a variety of topics. You may have caught a reporter at a time when he or she is not interested, but know a colleague who would. Make the call to reach the right contact.
Relationships are key. It’s much more memorable to hear a name over the phone than reading it over email. Using follow-up calls can not only secure placements for your clients but can help create a relationship between contacts you only slightly know or with whom you still have yet to connect.
Persistence pays off. I speak from experience, most recently with two different outlets (print and broadcast) of which I applied all of the above tips over the course of five months. Had I not picked up the phone and connected with these journalists several times throughout this engagement, I would not have been able to secure the coverage.
By way of a continued conversation, I was able to confirm their interest, arrange briefings with spokespeople, and provide localized data to round out their stories. Given the investment on their side, I continued to respectfully follow up in an effort to see the finished product through. And, it worked!Tags: our results, Outreach, Pitching ideas, Power of Persistence