You have spent weeks in strategic planning, developing a launch strategy for a product that you are sure the media will love. You start pitching, fully confident that coverage is only a few, targeted emails away and that you have nothing to worry about. Oh, if life were only that simple.
Instead, the response to your carefully constructed outreach is total, utter inbox silence.
Being a publicist isn’t easy. We face so many unknowns and variables in getting client news in the news, and we can’t always put our finger on what certain media contacts are looking for. Yes, content calendars and social media accounts help – but nothing can sincerely prepare you for what is going to work at any particular moment.
Here’s the thing: the media will sometimes ignore your pitch. In part because the media’s priorities are not your priorities. It’s normal to a send out a hundreds emails and get five responses. But boy is it not fun.
Below, I’ve put together five tips to help you keep your cool when media are slow to respond to your pitch.
1. Stop following up
One of the most frustrating things about radio silence from an editor is that you can’t mark a definitive yes or no on your tracking sheet. Without an absolute “not interested,” you are unable to stop following up, because there is a change you might get a yes. But you can only push the media so much until they get annoyed – an nonstop follow ups on a story idea that isn’t a fit is exactly that. Annoying. You may feel like you’re launching the best product that is a total fit for the publication, but there are a ton of reasons why you might not be hearing back. Don’t take it personally. Wait until you have something new to pitch, or at least a fresh angle, before reaching out again.
2. Send a follow up
Contrary to the above point, if you are pitching once and then crickets, shoot a follow-up email. Editors are inundated with pitches, and if you don’t have a working relationship already, or it’s a particularly busy season, absolutely send a reminder to those contacts that you believe to be the best fit for your product. It’s totally old school, but you could also give an editor a call. The gatekeepers that have the power to truly help build your client’s business are worth the effort.
3. Revamp your pitch with data or trend information
Media aren’t interested in the amazing features and benefits of a single item, they are interested the impact that product can make on their readers’ lives. If your pitch feels more like a sales pitch than a story idea, your editor could be put off by your tone. A better idea is to couch your product information within research or a larger trend story and work on quick key messages and sound bites that make it clear the company you are pitching is a leader in the space. And make sure you know the important facts inside and out so that when media responds, you have the inside knowledge to speak intelligently about the larger concept at hand as well as the ins and outs of your client’s product.
4. Double check your media list
When you’re getting zero responses, go to the biggest source you have: your media database. Make sure that the editors on your list truly are the most relevant to your pitch. You may be skimming through and not picking out the right contacts or accidentally deleting the ones that are actually important. Go back to the basics and look over your media lists, double checking that you’re contacts are correct.When it is all said and done, you simply may not be connecting with the right people. Restart and do more research on each contact to confidently know that your media list is strong.
5. Ask for feedback
Your co-workers are a huge support network and are likely familiar with your client, so utilize their knowledge. Ask them to review your pitch, provide feedback, suggest alternative angles and if relevant, to pitch the story to a contact with whom they have a stronger relationship. At the end of the day, it’s in everyone’s best interest to ensure successful media coverage so don’t suffer in silence – everyone goes though this and asking for help is the right call.
Pitching the media is a huge part of public relations and one that you only have a modicum of control over, even under the best of circumstances. This is why your media relationships, trust with other publicists and creativity are all part of your toolkit. Remember, just because the media ignores your launch doesn’t always mean you did an awful job, and there are always new strategies to put into play. Fearlessness and perseverance are your best friends when facing the media. You got this!
About Katie Wenclewicz
Aside from stalking the latest fashion trends and blogging about the best shoes to buy, Katie Wenclewicz enjoys everything and anything media relations. Currently residing in Indianapolis, Indiana, Katie is a publicist at Bohlsen Group specializing in media relations for corporate, nonprofit, and publishing clients all over the world. As a young professional, her bold personality, zeal for public relations, and passion to connect has brought success to all of her clients. She currently volunteers around Indianapolis and is an active member in the Hoosier PRSA chapter. Be sure to follow Katie on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Photo Credit: FLASHFLOOD®