Ask any journalist if people should follow up with them after sending a press release or emailing a pitch, and you’ll hear the word “No!”
The persistent people who follow up, however, are sometimes the ones I write about in my ezine, “The Publicity Hound’s Tips of the Week,” or this blog.
Last month, a publicist who had sent me a book to review called and emailed to make sure I got it. I hadn’t. So he sent it again. Then he called and emailed yet again. Because he refused to give up, and he had a great telephone manner, and I knew some of my readers would be interested in the book, so I ended up featuring it in the November/December issue of The Publicity Hound newsletter.
Other people aren’t as smart. Some call and never even identify themselves. Or they call and ask dumb questions. Or they sound like 16-year-olds who can’t string a noun and a verb together. Or they send email messages that show up with funky characters on the screen because they never took the time to send it to themselves first to see what it looks like.
Jill Lublin, who I interviewed during a teleseminar called “Failproof Ways to Follow Up After Sending a Press Release or Story Idea,” says there’s a right way to follow up and generate publicity, and a wrong way to follow up and be viewed as a pest.
The right way is to call and offer additional information that ties into what you already sent. It can be an idea for a sidebar. Or a suggestion for “the local angle.” Or you can offer photos or graphics to accompany the story.
The wrong way is to simply call and ask “Did you get my press release and do you know when it will be printed?”
No and no.
Your follow-up needs to leave journalists with the impression “I’m here to help you” versus “I want you to help me.”