How do I master the art of follow-up?

Perfect your pitch, timing and provide the proper resources to effectively draw in journalists.

There are currently four PR professionals to every one journalist. This means that journalists are inundated each day with hundreds of email pitches. In order to stand out in a flooded inbox, it is crucial to perfect your pitch and the timing of your follow-up. This can be accomplished by keeping a few simple tips in mind:

  1. Keep your pitch conversational. Your goal should be to garner interest in a conversational manner from the journalist to create a dialogue.
  2. Don't give all your information away! Save some interesting information or data points for the follow-up.
  3. Personalize your pitch and follow-up. Adding details that are relevant to the publication or the journalist will help your outreach stand out.

When it is time to follow-up make sure you keep the following timing guidelines in mind:

The initial follow-up: within 24 hours

  • Forward your previous email and write a short note, and delete the FW
  • "I know you are really busy but I didn't want this to fall through the cracks,"
  • "Any interest?"

The second round of follow-up: within 3-4 days of original pitch

  • Email again but add an asset or more info to provide additional value
  • Be gentle and subtle
  • Exhibit diplomatic tenacity
  • Treat the 10th pitch the same as you did the first

Phone outreach: within 5-7 days of original pitch

  • Hone in on the key portion of your list who are unresponsive
  • Journalists do not want uninformed, generic "call downs"
  • Look at their picture on LinkedIn
  • Sketch an outline of what you want to say
  • Stand and speak - it will give you more confidence

Remember that journalists are busy but are always looking for a unique and timely news story. Until you receive a "no" there is still a possibility for coverage!