I’m no journalist, but over the past decade, I’ve worked with quite a few while handling various PR projects for clients. So, I have a good sense of how overloaded journalists are when it comes to pitches. Press releases and pitch emails flood a journalist’s email on a daily basis; we’re talking hundreds of different messages pitching why “Client X” is the next best thing. So how do you follow up with your own pitch without seeming too eager?
Don’t be annoying
A phrase I use a lot: “It’s not the media’s job to sell your product or fill seats at your event.” So, if they choose to run a story on you, it really is a great favor to you. That said, don’t be “that guy” who leaves endless messages or daily follow-up emails. Be respectful of journalists’ time and be considerate when pitching and following up on story ideas.
Be timely, but not overbearing
You do want to follow up with your pitch. Letting it sit without doing anything about it is not going to guarantee you any kind of placement. Your follow up should be short, friendly and to the point. Don’t check in the day after you sent the original pitch, but don’t wait too long. Keep it within the same week and your journalists a) should have had time to read the original pitch and b) will still know what you’re talking about when you do call or email for a follow up.
Make it easy
Give extra nuggets of information such as statistics, follow-up interviews, previous reports or video footage that will make the journalist’s job that much easier. Think about it: If someone handed you a one-sheet of information that would make your job easier and had bullet-points of what you needed to do/know/interview, you’d be one happy camper, right? Provide your media contacts with access to extra information to make the story writing process go as smooth as possible.
Melissa Harrison is CEO at Allée, a branding, content marketing and creative services agency.