3 reasons I follow up with media

Dear Journalist,

I get why you’ve setup a cottage industry to bash PR people.

Still, annoying things emanate from this curmudgeonly faction. A case in point involves following up on pitches and releases.

You know what I mean. You’ve seen the “educational” blog posts and “helpful” videos where fourth estaters tell us PR people how to do our jobs.

“Email works,” journalists say “no need for you to call me.”

“Don’t follow up, we hate that. We’ll call you if we’re interested.”

I have news for you dear journo: I follow up on pitches. I always will.

Here are 3 reasons why:

  1. I don’t pitch crap that is irrelevant to your beat or interests. I do my homework. My stuff is worth a look. If you don’t respond I don’t know you’ve had a look. Simple.
  2. You constantly gripe about how many pitches you get. Like me, you’re human and can’t manage tonnes of info. This means I will call, because I don’t want my good pitch to go unnoticed in your overflowing inbox. It is not about badgering you, simply about making sure you see good stuff.
  3. If I don’t follow up and you publish a story without TALKING to me (not EMAILING, BUT TALKING) you tend to get facts wrong. Again, in the long run, it’s OK. It just sucks for me in the short run. So I follow up.

We’re in this together. Let’s be civilized.

I’ll “circle back” with you later :)

Yours,

Jackson

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Krista August 29, 2011 at 9:23 am

Love, love, love this post! Much like you, I also only did follow up with pitches I thought were best suited for the reporter (based on my research) and to also draw their attention to it. Invariably, once I got the reporter on the line and told them about my pitch/press release, they’d ask me to send it again and then, they’d usually respond via email. A little follow up never hurts so long as it’s used judiciously and not in the “steam-roll” fashion.

Stuart Hoggard June 18, 2012 at 12:31 am

As a Singapore based publisher (trade & industry) we recently received a pitch from one of the Big PR agencies representing a Fortune 500 company, asking if we’d be interested in interviewing the client’s Singapore based Regional MD during an exhibition in China. My Singaporean editor responded that we weren’t attending the exhibition, but would be happy to interview him in his office, since we’re both based in the same city in Asia.
She received a follow-up phone call from a Singaporean Account Exec to confirm we’d be doing the interview – she explained, again, that there are China exhibitions every month and we wouldn’t be covering that particular one.
Five weeks after the China exhibition she received another email: a Press Release about:-
a. A Product that had been exhibited at the show
b. The Client’s corporate restructuring
A further email from the account exec asked if we’d be running the Press Releases.
No, was my editor’s reply ‘We’re publish daily – to send us something 5 weeks after the event, is ‘old news’.

A week later the American Account Director called my editor to once more pitch for the Press Releases.
By this time she was getting annoyed, and had put in a bit of time on research… to her credit she told him “Well regarding the product story, I can’t see that the release is saying anything that we didn’t run in December (5 months earlier)”
He then changed the pitch to the corporate restructuring angle – she replied “Oh, have they restructured again?! I ran a restructuring story about 18 months ago, so is this another one”
“No it’s the same one” was the reply.

We’re still waiting for the invitation to interview the Regional Director, I’m not holding my breath

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