Don’t break into a sweat when you pitch a writer from a national magazine and hear nothing, even weeks later.
You’re tempted to follow up.
But you remember the warning from a reporter at your local newspaper who spoke at your Chamber of Commerce breakfast several months ago. She told audience members that after they pitch a story idea or send a press release, “We don’t want follow-ups.”
That’s not what she really means.
She’s right when she says you should never follow up and ask “Did you get my press release?” But forget what she said about following up pitches for story ideas.
When media people say “We don’t want follow-ups,” what they really mean is “We don’t want crappy follow-ups from pests who waste our time.”
5 Reasons You Should Follow Up
Here are five reasons why smart Publicity Hounds follow up pitches:
- Things fall through the cracks on their end. That includes pitches delivered by email or phone.
- Email pitches can get caught in spam folders.
- Journalists and bloggers want a good story. Despite what they might say, they even want that good story if it means you have to nudge them by making an extra phone call or sending two additional emails.
- Both of your jobs depend on it. If you’re a publicist, you’re toast if you don’t get results for your clients. If you’re a business owner and you don’t take advantage of free publicity, you’re stuck paying for ads you probably can’t afford.
- The squeaky wheel gets the publicity. It will always be this way.
The problem is that there’s no hard-and-fast rule for following up a story pitch.
How 3 Publicists Follow Up
I asked three publicists I respect how they do it.
The first one has a three-part system for following up, and she uses a baseball analogy to describe it.
The second one also has a three-part system but it’s very different.
A third says she follows up repeatedly until she hears a firm “no.” (I don’t recommend you do this.) But she has a long list of criteria that’s part of the process, and the media adore her.
Learn the New Rules of How to Follow Up
I’ll explain all three when I host the webinar “The New Rules of Following Up Pitches to Journalists” from 4 to 5 p.m. EDT today, Thursday, June 13. (Update: You can access the replay here.)
Register here, even if you can’t attend live. I’m recording it and you’ll get all the materials within 72 hours after the call. And you can email questions to me afterward.
Don’t be a one of the “pests who waste our time.” Be a valuable source the media love, even when you follow up.