What’s the best way to connect with media when email fails?
While email is the go-to method for contacting journalists, we’ve all read the stories about how full their inboxes can be.
Some reporters say they receive hundreds of pitches each week. Hundreds. Yikes! No wonder they don’t always read—let alone respond—to pitches sent via email.
So, if you’ve tried email to no avail, what else can you try? Here are four alternatives:
1. Social media: If email isn’t working, social media is another way to reach out. Maybe you’re already following the reporter and have an established relationship. If not, it’s still perfectly acceptable to try this method. See what outlets they’re active on. If you can see that they’re currently online, that can be even better, increasing your chances of getting their attention.
A note of caution: Avoid getting TOO personal. Yes, there’s a lot of talk about researching journalists’ personal interests using social media or perhaps their blogs before you pitch. The reasoning is that you can use this to relate to them—and if you relate to them, maybe they’ll be more likely to read your pitch. Can this go too far? Yes! Mentioning personal info when pitching must be done appropriately. You don’t want to come off as creepy.
2. Pick up the phone: Yes, it’s taboo—I still remember the look of terror on the faces of the junior PR pros at the agency I worked for when we mentioned a “call list”! But, sometimes, a phone call can be effective when used strategically.
Since nine out of 10 times when you call you’ll end up leaving a message, be sure you’ve rehearsed it prior to calling. Keep it brief and be sure to include your number. Then, it’s a good idea to immediately send the pitch again via email (mention that in your voice message).
3. Look for another reporter or media outlet: So, you’ve created the perfect pitch for what you thought was the perfect contact or outlet. Well, as it turns out, maybe it wasn’t such a great fit after all. So, why not reconsider and choose another contact or publication? This may require rewriting the pitch to be a fit for that reporter or outlet, but it could pay off, if you get a response.
4. Figure out another way to get the news out: You’ve written a spot-on pitch and attempted to get it in front of who you thought was the perfect target. You’ve followed up a couple of ways. No response. Now what? The news still needs to get out. As an alternative, you can turn to self-publishing. Within that, there are a number of options: press release, blog post, LinkedIn Pulse, Medium, contributed article, speaking abstract, maybe an infographic….the options are many.
By plugging in these ideas as needed, you can see that one way or another, you CAN get the news out!
How have you handled it when your expertly crafted pitch doesn’t get the response you were hoping for? What’s worked for you?
Michelle Messenger Garrett is a public relations consultant, speaker and award-winning writer with more than 20 years of agency, corporate, startup and Silicon Valley experience. She works with clients ranging from small businesses to enterprises such as Adobe and HP, assisting them in crafting and carrying out a PR strategy to help them get the word out, get noticed and increase visibility, prospects and sales.
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