Mastering the Art of the Follow-Up Pitch
August 15, 2016
As a PR professional, getting the media’s attention is your number one goal. In order to do this, you have to carefully construct a meaningful pitch that is newsworthy and attention grabbing, something that will stand out in the inbox of a reporter with 1,500 unread emails. The reality of the matter is that you will rarely receive interest the first go around, which is why your follow-up holds so much power. Reporters get thousands of emails a day and just because they don’t respond, doesn’t always mean that they aren’t interested. In an overly crowded inbox, things are more likely to fall through the cracks.
Even though the follow-up email is often dreaded, it should be your BFF. But there is a very fine line between being persistent and being an annoying pain in the ass. Which is why you need to create a balance when following up for the best results. Here are a few ways you can master the art of the follow-up pitch.
Give them at least 24 hours
Waiting a week to follow-up will be too late, and the reporters will have already forgotten about that great pitch you sent. But you also don’t want to bombard their email before they have even had a chance to read your original pitch. Being needy is never a redeeming quality, so try to avoid following up within 24 hours of the original pitch. If the subject matter is not too timely, waiting 24-48 hours to follow-up can be a happy medium. By not waiting too long, it gives you the opportunity to give your client an update on whether or not the pitch is working or not. If it’s not working, you can come up with a new approach.
Pick up the phone
Just because we live in the age of the internet, doesn’t mean that a simple phone call is no longer effective. But before calling, do some research. Some reporters prefer that you do not call them and will state it loud in clear in their bios or in their tweets. Just like follow-up emails, you don’t want to be too pushy. Follow-up via phone call and leave one message, but don’t fill their voicemail box or you can guarantee you won’t be getting a call back.
Start Over to Perfect the Pitch
Replying on top of your original email is not always the best option when following up. It may be more effective to send an entirely new email. Maybe there was a reason that the first email didn’t get a response, so chances are slim that the same subject and content will interest the a second time. Sending a brand new email is an effective way to have a fresh start to get attention. By sending a new email and tweaking the pitch, you can offer a new angle, ask them what they are working on and if there is anything you can provide them with to help on an upcoming story.