What not to do when a reporter rejects your pitch

It’s always a bummer when a reporter says no to a pitch, but it’s not the end of the world. Pull yourself together, and stay away from these bridge-burners.

Most of us don’t handle rejection well. Ever since we were kids and our crushes shot us down, we’ve never gotten used to the painful sting of rejection.

Any kind of rejection sucks. Rejection in business pursuits can hurt, too.

But if you’re a PR person, you’d better get used to it.

Call us gluttons for punishment, but those of us who work in PR get rejected pretty regularly. We deal with bloggers, reporters, editors, producers and others who say no to our pitches every day.

But if you don’t learn how to handle rejection well, you’re going to burn a lot of bridges and possibly harm your brand. Don’t do any of the following things when a reporter rejects your pitch:

1. Send an angry reply. You can’t take it personally when a reporter declines to cover your story. This is business—it’s not personal. The reporter probably doesn’t have anything against you; he just doesn’t feel like your story is the right fit at this time.

Accept this and move forward. Don’t get angry and chew out the reporter. Don’t convince yourself that you’re the center of the universe and reporters should beg for your story. Accept the rejection and move on.

2. Keep pushing after the reporter says no. You’re not going to change a reporter’s mind about your story idea once she’s said no. If you keep pushing, you’ll just annoy her. There’s a fine line between being determined and being a pain.

3. Cut ties with the reporter. Just because a reporter says no to one story idea doesn’t mean he won’t say yes to another in the future. Assuming you have a strong, targeted media list, you’ll want to keep building relationships with these reporters over time. Find out if there are other ways you can help them. Make yourself a trusted source. Don’t burn bridges just because someone rejected you.

4. Give up. You might think you have a great story idea, yet every reporter you pitch rejects it. That’s just how it goes sometimes. That doesn’t mean you should give up on PR altogether-you have to keep at it. Sometimes the leaky faucet approach to PR yields the best results.

Mickie Kennedy is the CEO and founder of eReleases. He blogs at PR Fuel, where a version of this article originally appeared.

Topics: PR

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