Nothing makes a reporter cringe more than the dreaded “follow-up” to a press release announcement or proactive pitch angle. But as PR practitioners we have an obligation to our clients to try and obtain some type of feedback – whether there’s any interest in the pitch/news item or not. However, following up in the game of PR requires a unique skillset.
The challenges to following up in PR are numerous: no response to email, unable to catch the reporter live via phone, reporter unavailable to chat due to deadlines, etc. In fact, it’s likely that whatever media database you have access to will even have several reporter bios that read, “DO NOT FOLLOW UP.” So what’s a PR practitioner to do?
As with anything in life, it’s all about timing. If you’ve done your homework to find out when a reporter is “generally” available or when they’re typically on deadline, then you’re halfway there. Now it’s about being persistent and giving yourself the best opportunity to get a response.
This month’s tip: Follow-up Friday.
Reporters seem to always be on deadline, but Fridays are typically a good day to follow up. As I wrote in a previous post, reporters are people too, so we’re all prone to being a bit more casual at the end of a busy workweek. As a result, members of the media may be more likely to respond to an email or actually pick up the phone (!) on a Friday as they’ve likely gotten their major items on their to-do list out of the way. Now I realize you may not have the luxury to wait until the end of the week to follow up, depending on the timing of your initial outreach, but if you have a choice, reach out to your favorite reporter on a Friday – and don’t forget to share the feedback you’ve obtained with your client before heading over to your favorite watering hole. It just makes the weekend that much better…