How to follow up when courting the media

October 11, 2017 / by Lucas Wiseman

iStock-484266772.jpgSo, you’ve sent out a press release or a pitch to the media and you know it’s a story they will want to do. You’ve made it relevant, provided editorial context and you know it’s newsworthy, but you haven’t heard anything back. Now what? 

Knowing when and how to follow up on public relations efforts can be key in helping you find success in placing your story.

Give it some time: When you send out a pitch to the media, it’s normal to feel anxious about wanting a response. Instinctively you’ll want to follow up as soon as possible, but it’s important to resist that urge unless the story is of a breaking nature. A good rule of thumb is to wait at least 24 hours to reach back out.

Understand why you might not have gotten a response: You aren’t the only one sending reporters pitches. They get dozens (sometimes hundreds) of pitches each day. Your pitch may not have been relevant to them or maybe it simply got lost in the clutter.

Try to reach out to a different person: If you don’t hear back, it might be because you simply reached out to the wrong person. Reaching the right person with your pitch is incredibly important, so do some more research and see if there’s someone else at the outlet with whom you should follow up. 

Don’t badger: If there’s one thing reporters hate, it’s being badgered. They don’t want to be berated by emails and phone calls about your pitch. If they are interested, they will let you know. One follow-up email is fine, but going beyond that risks turning them off to future pitches you might have. 

Pitching the media is difficult and the success rate can sometimes be low. It’s important to not get discouraged even when you follow up and they still don’t respond. One way to give yourself the best opportunity for success is to make sure you are writing effective press releases. You can also learn how to join news events as they happen, instead of pitching your own. Download our eBook to learn why. 

Download our PR Newsjacking Guide