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The do’s and don’ts of following up with journalists

By Lisa Goldsberry

60047469_s.jpgGo from nuisance to news expert with tips from PR pros

You’ve prepared your best pitch and contacted media to get some positive news coverage. Now you sit in agony, waiting for the reporter to call you back. Should you call again or will that make you a pest and hurt your chances? This is the most common conundrum of media relations.

Why does it take journalists so long to call you? You’re sure you have a solid, interesting story. How can you follow up without being arrested for stalking (or worse, blocked by the reporter)? You may decide to just give up and move on to the next pitch, but you should hire a public relations firm to help you instead

Things you should not do after sending a news release

  • Send it again. Unless there was some sort of worldwide computer meltdown occurring at the same time you were transmitting the message, rest assured that it was received.
  • Harass the reporter about a fluff piece. You may send an occasional release about your company’s new assistant director of such-and-such or about the company adding more parking spaces. The truth is, it’s best not to send these at all (save them for your internal newsletter), but you should certainly not waste everyone’s time by fighting for coverage.
  • Expect the reporter to chase you. Unfortunately, some companies send news releases without including appropriate contact information, such as an after-hours contact. Or, they offer too many people to contact.

The most effective ways to follow up

There is no course to teach you about how to follow up, and even if there was, every reporter is different. Some frown on any type of follow-up and others don’t mind if you send an email or Tweet with another possible angle on the story. Using these tips, you can avoid being a pest while still pitching your news.

  1. Understand the publishing or broadcast cycle of the news outlet you are pitching.

You will improve your chances if you know their schedule and editorial calendar. For example, don’t follow up with a television journalist just before he goes on the air. The best time is in the morning, prior to his production meeting. If you are pitching a weekly news outlet that publishes every Friday, don’t follow up on Thursday afternoon. They are probably done with that issue already.

  1. Demonstrate your value to the reporter.

When pitching, it’s easy to get caught up in thinking about how much news coverage will help you. However, you must think like the reporter and highlight what’s in it for her. Have all the information, visuals and interviews already lined up to make her job easier.

  1. When following up on social media, follow best practices.

Social media platforms present a quick, unobtrusive way to follow up with reporters, but there is still room for abuse. For instance, you can’t ask a reporter to DM you on Twitter if you are not already a follower. Also, Facebook is still basically social, and if you are not friends with the journalist, it’s likely he won’t see your message. Lastly, remember that one message is fine but more than two can become spam.

  1. Hire a PR firm to handle media relations for you.

Attracting media attention for your stories can be a frustrating, time-consuming task. Leave it in the hands of experts who know how.

At Axia Public Relations, we pitch every day, so we know the best ways to position our clients’ news to get attention, get coverage and get results. Download our e-book Learn Media Relations from the Media or contact us to find out more.

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Lisa-G-Color-SM.jpgLisa Goldsberry is a blogger for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business and technology PR. Lisa has worked for Axia since December 2013. Learn more about Lisa Goldsberry. Connect with Axia on Twitter @axiapr or tell us what you think in the comments below.







Featured image credit: 123rf.com

Topics: media relations, public relations

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