So, you have followed our best practices guide on how to write a great press release. You have written your press release and now you are ready to pitch, so what should you do next? Well, this blog post is all about getting your release noticed and how you should follow up with media contacts. (And oh, yeah, we have some suggestions on things that you shouldn’t do as well.)
First, you need to pitch your press release. When pitching, try to send it on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Mondays and Fridays are not good days to get your news release noticed. Once you have made your pitch you need to have patience. Wait a week or so to make your first follow up. Speaking of patience, you will also need to have plenty of it when it comes to following up. Very occasionally, you will catch lightning in a bottle and get an immediate email or phone call, but it is more likely that you will need to send several follow ups.
Try not to get discouraged if you aren’t hearing back from anyone. The reason that it usually takes several follow up attempts is because reporters and producers receive hundreds of emails each day. Your story may not be pertinent immediately but it doesn’t mean that they aren’t interested. It can take up to six weeks to garner their attention! This is all about timing.
So, the question that you are probably asking is how many times should I follow up? Well, finding that balance between being available to answer questions about just being annoying is hard – it is almost an art form. What you have to realize is that you may have interest for your story but the reporter or producer is just waiting for the right time. Again, timing.
When you do your follow ups, emails are normally the best, but if you are receiving no response, a phone call is not a bad idea. You will likely reach a voicemail, so remember to have a message prepared that includes your full pitch.
Once you have heard back from a media contact regarding your release, the work doesn’t stop there. Be prepared to go back and forth with the reporter or producer a few times via email or phone call. They will probably have a few questions for you and possibly will need more information. Here is something to keep in mind. The reporter or producer may want to make your story fit a particular angle. Remember to be flexible with these changes. Of course, if it is an angle that you are completely uncomfortable with, you should always go with your gut.
And now a final thought. It can be extremely beneficial for you to hire a firm to help you with your PR efforts. This is an instance when having a middleman is a good thing. You see, reporters and producers often times feel more comfortable talking to someone who then speaks to the client. We have found that having a comfortable line of communication can make all of the difference.
Coming up next week we will talk about how to integrate your PR efforts with social media.