You sent your press release. Do you wait and hope the journalist takes notice? Or do you follow up and risk getting on his or her nerves? To help you decide, here are five tips:
1. Follow up by phone.
If you’ve never seen a journalist’s inbox, look at your spam box in your email account. If you use an old email provider, you might receive hundreds of spam emails. That’s what a journalist’s regular inbox looks like, except, instead of spam, it’s full of pitches. Your pitch can easily get lost among the others. How can you stand apart? Make a phone call and discuss your pitch with the journalist.
2. Don’t call multiple times.
A lot of journalists can’t stand getting phone calls that check on pitches. Why? More often than not the people entrusted with calling from PR firms are the lowest men on the totem pole—and journalists know it. Journalists work in a high stress environment and always have a pressing deadline. They don’t want a sniveling young intern to bother them every 30 seconds about a press release they can’t remember reading. So call … once.
3 Start with the important facts.
So I’m telling you to call, but also that reporters don’t like calls. And don’t call too much. So what’s the point? Am I contradicting myself? Well not exactly. What we have here is a bit of a catch-22. The only way you can see your way out of it is to try and get the reporter’s attention fast.
Beginning the call with “Hello, remember that press release?” will make a reporter roll his or her eyes and mentally hang up. Get to the point, spout off a few pertinent facts about your story and ask if it’s a good fit.
4. Don’t think you’re doing the journalist a favor.
Yes, you’re helping the journalist find a good idea to cover. But he or she has plenty of material, and your pitch is just one of the pack. In reality, the journalist is doing you a favor. Be polite and don’t feel like anyone owes you anything.
5. Offer more than the other guys.
You’ll stand out from the competition by making a reporter’s life easier. Offer something extra in your pitch, such as additional information, interviews and statistics. Do some of the research for them and hand it to him or her. The reporter will love you for it.
Mickie Kennedy is founder of eReleases, where a version of this article originally ran.