I'm sure many of you have been there before: you're sending pitch after pitch to one of your target media contacts or outlets, and it's met with the sound of silence. Crickets. The energy it takes to do this and the mental and emotional drain you feel when you fail to get a response gets worse each time you try. Eventually, you decide it could be time to give up....Believe me, I have been there. And I can tell you, DO NOT GIVE UP. In fact, I'm going to tell you right now why it's worth your time and energy to keep pitching (even when you want to give up). I'm also going to reveal how you can be sure you're doing this pitching strategically to ensure an outcome that will make it all worth it. That's right, momma's gonna make it all better. I know this is something that can really put a drain on your motivation and "free head space" so let's not waste any time and get down to it:
WHY IT'S WORTH IT TO KEEP PITCHING WHEN YOU AREN'T GETTING ANY RESPONSES (and you feel like giving up...)
We already know the scenario: you're pitching an outlet that you have assessed and studied and that your product or service is a great fit for, yet know one is replying to you. Why should you keep at it? Here are two very important reasons:
Reason #1 - Each Pitch Has A Double Purpose:
The pitching you do every day, or week is more than meets the eye. Sure its primary goals is to get the specific story, product or expert tips you're pitching in the press. But there's more! When you're regularly pitching the press you're essentially reminding them that you exist. If you're doing it the right way (more on that coming) you're sharing examples of your business, product or expertise regularly with them, and even if they decide (for whatever reason) in the end not to use your story idea, they've now had a bit of a "ping" from you that says "Hey there, I exist!"
How does this help you in the long run? Say you're a wedding planner and keep pitching the New York Times every month about your expertise via various seasonal expert tips as well as commentary on wedding trends. Then one day the New York Times reporter you've been pitching gets assigned a story on celebrity wedding trends. They will immediately start thinking: "Hmmm who can I call on to comment on this in my story? What experts can I feature in this?"
If you've been pitching regularly and are on their mind (in a favorable way...) they'll think, "Oh, YES! I will call on that awesome wedding planner I got an email from a couple of weeks ago!" With that, the wedding planner has not only landed themselves in a story, but they've created a relationship with that reporter which ensures said reporter will be more receptive to future pitches and stories with this wedding planner. WIN WIN WIN!
This has happened to us at Tin Shingle a few times recently. One example is the story of how we became regular small business experts for USA Today (like here, and here, and here). Not only are we regularly featured in their stories, but we have also been able to share Tin Shingle members like Palmetto Cheese with the folks at USA Today for small business stories, due to our long term relationship with them. Do you know how this relationship started? We were pitching the paper's small business editors regularly about our expertise and our company. When a small biz story came up that they needed experts for, do you know who was on their mind? Yours truly! Since that story, we have not only had the chance to work with them again and again, but our relationship with them has deepened, because they know and trust us. This all happened because we didn't give up on our outreach simply because we didn't hear back as quickly as we wanted.
This also happened to us in real life just a couple of weeks ago: the New York Daily News was doing a story on Small Business Saturday. When the reporter covering the story asked her newsdesk if they knew of anyone who could weigh in on it, Tin Shingle was referred to her because we regularly reach out with timely and useful small business pitches. We not only weighed in as experts in the story, but we were able to include some small businesses we know and love into the story as well! This made our monthly outreach worth the wait!
Moral of these stories? Every time you pitch, you're accomplishing two things: you're reaching out with your specific pitch, and eventually may get a response and story out of it. You're also getting yourself on the radar of the media outlet or contact you're pitching, which could lead to unplanned, game-changing and relationship building coverage!
Reason #2 - You Could Be On File for an Upcoming Story & Not Even Know It, Don't Throw Away Those Opportunities!
I spoke on a public relations panel a couple of years ago, and an editor from a very large and well respected national magazine said something that stuck out in my head: she gets tons of pitches a day (sometimes hundreds). Because the of the sheer volume of pitches she receives, she can't respond to all of them, but when something catches her eye she flags it, e-files it and at times she even prints out the pitch and puts it in a file folder filled with her story plans that could be for the next issue, or an issue several months away. The point is, her responses and stories don't always come overnight, but she definitely snags pitches from product creators, experts or services that grab her attention and sound like great fits for her readers. When she's ready to address them she'll reach back out to the person who pitched her, and yes (she admitted) some are surprised to hear from her after weeks or months have passed since they originally pitched her, but when she's interested she does follow up!
Moral of this story? Though you may feel like you're throwing out pitches and no one is catching them, they could actually be in the media's mitt (or file folder, email inbox, or plans for an upcoming story). We don't have the luxury to know what's really going on over on the media end, but if you're not getting a solid no, you can't let yourself live in the world of "That's it, they'll never want me". What you actually may be experiencing is a situation in which they want you, they just don't want you right now.
Plus, reporters don't always have the time to email you when you're in a story! Be sure to have your Google Alerts set to alert you if an article just featured your brand!
Alrighty then. I've given you two solid and proven reasons the media may not be responding to your pitches, so keep those pitches coming! Keep sending regular outreach to your target contacts - at least every month! Just be sure they are strategic, relationship building pitches! Be sure they're worth the effort you're making to send them out!
How can you be sure the pitches you're sending regularly (even when people aren't responding) are giving you a good ROI? By following the steps laid out in part two of this series created to keep you from giving up. In it we outline what those pitches you send repeatedly should and should not look like. Read on here!