How To Follow Up With The Media

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How To Follow Up With The Media

How To Follow Up With The Media

You’ve found a great story to showcase your company, and you even did the legwork to secure the right character to share their personal experience. After reaching out to the best reporter, to cover it, now what?

Don’t be discouraged if the pitch is not picked up right away. 

Sometimes it’s just a matter of timing because the media might not think right now is a good time because the reporter is likely working on several different stories at this moment. 

Whether or not you are explicitly told, “No, thanks”. Don’t take it personally. It’s not you, or even the quality of your story. There are so many factors out of your control.

Below are three things to consider when following up with media contacts.

1. Wait To Follow Up

After your initial email, it can be tempting to follow up if you haven’t received a response immediately.  However, you will want to wait to follow up.  There are a couple of reasons why this is important.

  • Give The Reporter Time – Wait at least three to four days before following up again. Chances are, if the story pitch was relevant and the reporter did read it, they’re letting it marinate in their head before following up. Even if they like your story, they still have to pitch it to their editor or producer. They have to sell them on the idea. There are things the reporter has to consider as well.
  • Don’t Be Pushy – Waiting a few days is good because you don’t want to sound too pushy. When you are about to circle back with them, keep the follow-up really short and always end it with a question, not a statement. One way to reply is to simply say, “Hi Joe! I wanted to circle back on this message. I think it could make for a really compelling story on heart health benefits. Is this something you might be interested in”?

Following up is essential, but allowing your contact person time to consider your pitch will prevent you from being pushy. 


2. Timing

There may come a time when you are in a situation where your pitch is timely. This means it is revolved around an event at a specific time and day. Knowing this, make sure you give yourself enough time to pitch the story. 

  • Give Yourself Time – Try pitching the story two weeks from the event date. Follow up again a week later. If you get no response, follow up two days before the event, saying explicitly, “This event is in two days”! how to follow up with the media
  • Follow-Up Maximum – When following up, it is recommended to follow up a maximum of three times. This is because if they were interested, chances are, they would have responded by now. It’s important to not follow up too many times, because you don’t want your name to be associated with someone who is too pushy.
  • End With A Question – Ending it with a question, gets them thinking about whether or not they want to take the next step.  It also creates a sense of urgency for a response as well.

Making sure you give the reporter and outlet ample time to cover your story will increase your chances of your story being picked up.  Reaching out in advance and following up with the date reminders will keep your story top of mind.


3. Keep pitching

If you aren’t getting the response you want, the best thing to do is keep pitching to different people in different outlets.  And maybe even going at it from a different angle. This may improve your chances of getting noticed.  

There are a couple of things to consider as you continue to pitch your story.

  • New Angle – Sometimes a different angle can bring new life to your story.  You can differentiate your pitch by focusing on a different aspect of your story.  For example, if your story has a philanthropic feature, consider leading with that aspect.  A new angle can potentially improve your chances of getting picked up by a news outlet. how to follow up with media contacts
  • Different Outlets – There are many reasons your story may not be being picked up by your chosen media contacts.  If this is the case, you may want to consider pitching to different outlets.  This may increase your chances of your story being published. If you decide to do this, make sure you pitch to relevant reporters and outlets.  

Continually pitching your story with a new angle and to different outlets will maximize your efforts to get your story picked up. 

In the end, you will likely have a lot of story ideas, and many of them won’t get covered. Don’t be discouraged. Follow up with a quick message, and then move on so you can focus your time on crafting your next compelling story. 


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