The Art of the Follow-Up Pitch

A major part of working in PR is pitching the media – it’s something we do daily. Identifying, researching, and landing quality editorial opportunities for our clients is a top priority. To achieve success with the media, it all starts with crafting a solid pitch. Sometimes though, even if you feel you’ve crafted the perfect fit for the writer you are pitching, you just don’t hear back. Before you get frustrated, it’s important to know there are probably several other people pitching the same person day in and day out. It’s not unlikely that sometimes, your pitch will get lost or unseen, no matter how good it is. For most journalists though, it’s perfectly acceptable to follow-up once or twice about a week or so after your initial pitch.

In fact, some find their best success in the follow-up pitch. Often, initial pitches can appear copy heavy – we don’t want to miss any important details. On any given day, a lengthy email can get glazed over; however, the follow-up pitch should be kept short and sweet, so that it’s easy to consume. You could even try engaging with the journalist on Twitter – many journalists are using Twitter on a daily basis and are happy to have PR professionals following them. Be sure to take note of their preferences on this tactic on Twitter however as some journalist do not want to be pitched on that platform.

It’s helpful also to reply and include the original email at the bottom of the thread for reference. It’s possible your initial email was not read, so generally the first line of the follow-up should summarize the purpose of the original message. The summary should be followed by a call to action, or what you’re offering the journalist. If your initial email included attachments, try using a link the second time; some email servers block attachments from unknown senders – your email may have never arrived.

No matter the outcome, the art of pitching and follow-up pitching is something to be worked and re-worked through your career to find a style that works best for you. You may find they did read your pitch and meant to get back to you, journalists are people too; or maybe they aren’t working on something applicable at this time but would like more information for a future piece, this could open the door to a working relationship with the journalist. Ultimately, if you don’t get any interest from journalists though, don’t take it personally. Instead, take it as an opportunity to change things up. Is there something you could change about the story angle? Or, could “news jacking” come into play by connecting your news to a trending story? Take the opportunity to re-evaluate or research different publications and journalists to pitch.

Do you find a certain tactic works best for you when pitching the media and following up? Let’s talk about it – find me on Twitter @maryebuonocore.

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