Nagging the media without pissing them off

Nagging the media without pissing them off

 

The biggest pet peeve I hear from the media is when people ask them “hey did you get my email?” Granted that is a pretty stupid question – but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called a journalist because I KNOW he or she would want the story only to hear “yeah, send it again it must have gone in my spam file” Or – “Oh I was on vacation and had too many messages so I just deleted them all.” So how do we make sure the journalist or producer got what we sent without appearing like a needy, nagging spouse? 

Here are some things I’ve done that work really well for me. In fact, there are cases where I’ve made as many as 7 or 8 contacts to a journalist before hearing back…without making them mad. See if any of these work for you:

 

  • Simply ask if they want the story.  You should have a priority list of media that might cover this. Just send them an email forward of your first email and ask – “Hey are you going to do something with my pitch or not I’ve got other places to go with it” Don’t be afraid to get a no AND DON”T ARGUE WITH THEM ABOUT IT.  Just move on and be grateful they let you know.  I get a lot of folks that respond to check back a little later. Yes, there are Luddites out there who still print off their interesting story ideas and put them in a pile. 
  • Send them new information about whatever it is. Maybe Gwyneth Paltrow just ordered your body oil and you want to let them know. True story – I had a friend that alerted all her media contacts about Ms. Paltrow’s order and got tons of stories. What has happened recently that makes your story even more interesting? Rattle their cage with something new and they might respond. 
  • Call and catch them live. I know they hate it, but if you’re brief and give them the “I just need to know if you are planning to do anything with this, even if it’s on the maybe pile” talk, they’ll usually tell you. Hey, we have clients to report back to and they know that.  Just be quick about it, and only call if you really need to know.
  • Change your pitch so that the story idea is NEW. And remember it really has to be new. Again, forward your old email and say something like “I was thinking about your publication, and wondering if maybe a better angle would be XXXX.” Or even “I saw this event in the news, and thought you might want some expert commentary from moi, ms. smarty pants”
Most people don’t mind if you come back to them as long as it’s an easy “yes or no” or a fresh take on what you’re doing. And don’t give up. Journalists and producers are even more impossibly busy these days. They aren’t trying to be rude, it’s just that many of them are doing what used to be the jobs of 3 or 4 people.  Remember that so you can be a help, not a hindrance.
And sorry, I really tried to find a picture of a man nagging a woman but I guess guys just don’t do that. (right) At least she’s cute. 
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