It’s a perfect example of what it’s like to be on the receiving end of those annoying follow-up calls from PR people. I took calls just like these during my 22 years in the newspaper industry, and they drove me crazy.
Here are some quick tips for following up:
—Never, ever follow up to ask journalists if they received your press release and if they know when it will be printed. They won’t drop what they’re doing to talk to you, and they’ll quickly brand you as a pest. (Why do PR firms keep doing this?)
—Journalists say they hate follow-up calls. Truth is, they hate follow-up calls like the ones Weingarten writes about. If you follow up to offer an additional piece of information only for that journalist, or to suggest an idea for a photo to accompany your earlier story pitch, the journalist might welcome your call.
—You may have to follow up as many as seven times, using a combination of phone and email, before you hear back. If, after seven follow-ups, you hear nothing, stop calling and emailing. This was what author Jill Lublin recommended when I interviewed her during the teleseminar “Failproof Ways to Follow Up.” The tips she shared were based on dozens of interviews she conducted with journalists.
—If you follow up and hear nothing, never assume the journalist isn’t interested. Sometimes, a reporter will print your email message, toss it into an “ideas” folder, then return to it two years later on a slow news day.
I’m not very organized. So when somebody sends me an email I want to save but I’ve somehow misplaced it, I appreciate it when they follow up.