You’ve spent an entire year planning your business launch — from forming an LLC to designing a website to hiring the right employees. You’ve also spent a year thoughtfully planning out your media relations campaign including which outlets you want to get into to reach your target audiences.
You begin drafting pitch letters and emailing the top 20 or 30 media outlets that you thought would pick up your story in a second — only to find out that no journalist replies back to your emails. So what can you do? What steps can you take to increase your chances of getting a reply? Here are five simple tips you can follow.
1. Follow up one to two times after you send your initial pitch.
Media professionals receive upwards of 500 email pitches per day and yours might get lost in the shuffle, so you might not hear back after your first email. If this happens, then it’s okay to send a follow-up email a few days later (I recommend three or four days after your initial pitch).
If you still didn’t get a response from the journalist after your second email, you can send one more email after that, but that’s it. If you don’t hear back after three emails, then it’s time to stop following up or you could really annoy that media professional and ruin that relationship before it begins.
2. Come up with a new pitching angle.
If the first pitching angle you used didn’t generate the attention of a journalist, try switching what you’re pitching. Try developing a pitch around an emerging trend or piggyback off something that’s happening now. Additionally, add relevant statistics to back up your points.
3. Make sure you’re pitching the right person.
I’ve written a lot about how to get publicity for your small business, and the one thing I can’t emphasize enough is to make sure you’re pitching the right journalist. If you aren’t 100 percent sure who the right person is, go on LinkedIn.com and check out the media contact’s job description. You can check Twitter.com, too.
4. Pitch a different journalist at the same media outlet.
I’m not saying that you should pitch every person in the newsroom (this is a sure way to annoy everyone), but instead try to find another contact who covers the same or a similar beat. Again, make sure it’s on-topic, fits the style of the outlet, and is newsworthy.
5. If you’ve pitched 20 or 30 media outlets and didn’t receive a response.
If you have not heard from any of them, there’s a pretty good chance your pitch was off-topic or doesn’t match up with the outlet’s editorial calendar. Try to look at your story with a critical eye and ask your employees for feedback. This will help you craft a story that is relevant, timely, and newsworthy.
Ultimately, the key to generating a response from a journalist is to make sure you pitch an interesting story that he or she can turn into a feature article, Q&A, or a product or service review.