Getting publicity for your biz can be tough. It’s not an exact science and because there are so many different elements to take into account, it can be hard to know where you are going wrong if you’re not getting the results you’d hoped for.
The other day I spoke to a lady who said she’d tried getting in touch with magazines in the past and it hadn’t worked out, so she had given up. When I asked her what she’d tried she told me she’d sent out a few pitches to magazines, not heard back, and that was that.
“I don’t know why they didn’t want to feature me,” she said. “Maybe I don’t look right, or maybe I’m not successful enough, or maybe they didn’t like the sound of my business.”
I asked her if she’d followed up with the journalists and she sheepishly replied “no”.
Well, how could she possibly know why they didn’t want to feature her if she hadn’t followed up? In fact, was she sure they received the email in the first place? What if the person she emailed was on holiday that week and her email had gone un-read? What if they were off on maternity leave and hadn’t set their out-of-office (it happens!) What if they’d deleted it by mistake before they’d had a chance to read it? What if they’d read it, been intending to reply, but then they’d been called out on a big reporting job and never got round to replying?
Unless you follow up with a journalist, you’ll never know that they’ve even read your email. Let alone the reason they didn’t get back to you.
And if the reason they’ve not responded is because they’re not interested, how will you ever find out exactly WHY they’re not interested, if you don’t follow up?
There are loads of reasons why a journalist may not be able to feature you right now. Some genuine reasons are:
- they’ve just run a similar feature to the one you were suggesting
- they’ve got no space – a magazine only has limited space, if they’ve filled all their slots then they won’t be able to consider you until they’re working on a future issue
- your story isn’t quite right for them – but something else you come up with may be perfect
- you’re the wrong demographic – magazines will only feature case studies that their readers can identify with. So if the magazine is aimed at 20 and 30 year olds and you’re putting yourself forward as a 50-year-old case study, it’s not going to work for them
- you missed their deadline with a time-sensitive story – if you’ve got a time-sensitive story, e.g. an event happening on a particular day, or a seasonal story, you need to make sure you don’t miss the magazine’s deadline
- they don’t run the type of article you suggested – did you suggest a Q&A feature when in fact they never run them? Did you ask them to do a book review for your new book, when they never run book reviews?
[Disclaimer – some of these mistakes can be avoided by making sure you research your ideal publications thoroughly BEFORE getting in touch – if you’d like help with this speak to me about working with me]
The fact is, you’ll never know the reason a journalist hasn’t responded to your pitch, unless you get a bit brave and pick up the phone to ask them.
I know the idea of calling a journalist can seem scary to some people, but it will be sooooo worth it to get feedback to your pitch. Because if it’s a no, you can find out why, and then make sure you’re more on track next time.
But it may just be a ‘sorry I didn’t get back to you, I’ve been up to eyeballs in paperwork and forgot to reply but actually we’d LOVE to feature you.’ And how cool would that be?
In fact, one of my 30 Days To Make Your Business Famous participants followed up with a big evening paper last week – and they’re publishing an article about her business this week, woo hoo!
So if you’ve not been getting the results you’d hoped for with PR, look at whether you need to start following up with the journalists you’re getting in touch with. And if you’d like a bit of hand-holding to help you along the way, click here to see how you can work with me.
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