I spend about 25% of my time sending out new pitches on behalf of the PR firms I work with, and the rest is devoted to following up on those pitches. The reality is I rarely get placements the first go around. Instead, most of my placement are a result of my follow ups. Journalists get hundreds, if not thousands of emails a day. Sometimes things fall through the cracks. Just because they don’t respond doesn’t always mean they aren’t interested.
Journalists get hundreds, if not thousands of e-mails a day. Sometimes things fall through the cracks. Just because they don’t respond doesn’t always mean they aren’t interested.
As a publicist, follow up should be your best friend. However, there is definitely a fine line between being persistent, and advocating for your client, and being flat out annoying. There is a bit of a balancing act when it comes to following up for results. These are just a few of the things, I keep in mind when checking in on my pitches:
Wait a few days before following up
Waiting a week to follow up is simply too long; editors will have forgotten your pitch. I usually wait about 2-3 days. This gives media time to respond first. And yet by not waiting too long, it’s more likely they remember my email coming through their inbox. Also, by not waiting for too long, I can update my clients sooner to let them know if the pitch is working. If it isn’t, I come up with a new approach and/or move on to different contacts.
The rule is one email, one phone call
For every pitch, I do one phone call and one email follow up. Most journalists screen their calls (and prefer email correspondence), so I always leave a message. After that, I send a quick follow up email.
Remove the Re; Send a new email
Sometimes, replying to your initial email is a great way to follow up. It keeps the communication in a single feed and is especially good when you are adding new or timely information on top of your original pitch. While I use that technique sometimes, I find it often more effective to just send an entirely new email. My thinking goes like this: there was a reason that first email didn’t get a response. Chances are slim that the same subject line or content will pique interest a second time. A new email acts as a fresh start to get attention.
I know sometimes replying to your initial e-mail can be a great way to follow up. While I use that technique sometimes, I find it a lot more effective to just send an entirely new email.
The best follow-up is a new pitch
Like I said before, keep the follow up to a minimum. Instead of wasting all your time and energy following up, write a new pitch and offer some kind of new story idea. This is the value and expertise you bring to the table as a communications professional and is more effective than annoying people with endless follow up on the same idea.
Photo Credit: anka nevasilyeva