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. 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.
1. 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 2-3 days. This gives media time to respond first. 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 than later 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.
2. 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.
3. Remove the Re: Send a new email
Replying to your initial email can be 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 gain attention.
I know sometimes replying to your initial email 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.
4. The best follow-up is a new pitch
Keep follow up to a minimum. Instead of wasting 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 journalists with endless follow up on the same idea.