8 types of responses that PR pros will hear from journalists
Working with the media takes skill, patience, speed, and creativity and it takes years to master. Pitching is one of the most difficult things to do, because it takes a careful combination of those four attributes--in addition to a little bit of luck.
But once you’ve worked in media relations for a while, you start to understand the process and the nuances. You have ups and downs, build relationships along the way, gain expertise and discover some patterns.
Here are 8 types of responses that PR pros receive from journalists in response to pitches (by the way, they’re all real!)
1. “Sure, that works.” You have an expert in town who’s looking to build relationships with beat reporters or those who cover his or her space. You select some of the reporters who are most relevant and receive the confirmations. This is great! You’re building relationships and helping reporters source stories. It’s a win-win situation.
2. “No, thanks.” You pitch a reporter and he/she acknowledges your email, but the timing is off. Not bad! Bonus points if you get one of these:
3. “Actually, I’m working on…” This shows that you reached out at a good time, but the reporter is working on a different story and is looking for sources. This allows you to work with your company or client and see how you can contribute to this story ahead of the reporter’s deadline. Your outreach could be a potential success.
4. “Is that this week?” If you’re pitching experts for a timely topic, and the reporter asks if that event is happening that week, nice job. You’re one step ahead and chances are, they’ll appreciate that.
5. “kjhgjb sdlegbg,sdpa” Definition: something snarky. I think we’ve all been sent one of these responses. The bright side: at least they read your email?
6. “Hey! How was your weekend?” A response like this means you’ve built a relationships with this reporter. It’s very important to have friends and acquaintances who work in the media industry for a number of reasons: to stay relevant with what’s going in their world, to keep yourself grounded, have a potential sounding board for non-confidential work, and to know some generally cool people.
7. “How did you know I was working on a similar story?” It’s the unicorn of responses. When you pitch a reporter and he/she is actually working on a similar story where your expert could provide insights, it’s an amazing feeling. It’s one of those moments where everything falls into place. It’s the most effective, most mutually beneficial media relations exchange. You get brownie points with the reporter, and may even surprise him or her!
Are you looking for the eighth type of response? Well, there is no #8, because sometimes, emails go unanswered….
Julia Sahin works in corporate communications for financial services at one of the largest PR firms in New York and is a monthly contributor to Muck Rack. She was the first to publish academic research about regulation, reputation, and banks. She plans on doing big things. All opinions should be seen as her own and do not reflect her employer’s. Connect with her on Twitter.
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