Four of the most powerful ingredients in the secret sauce that makes up a public relations campaign for your business - even more important than writing your pitch the "right way" - are also the four rules that will make that same public relations campaign more successful and less stressful. Coincidence? I think not.
There's no question that the would of PR can leave you with questions like, "Is my pitch good enough?", "Is my outreach being done right?", "how can I follow up without bothering anyone?" and on and on...This thinking can even lead us into the zone of “analysis paralysis” and that is not somewhere you can afford to be while building your buzz.
The thing is, you don’t have the real estate in your brain to let that fear or uncertainty or even inexperience hold you back from doing it. Know what’s worse than doing it wrong? Not doing it at all…
So with that, I give you what I like to call The 4 P’s. I want you to remember these, commit to them and next time you are frozen or wondering if you should follow up with someone about a pitch or if your pitch is okay to send, and all those other things, just make sure you are obeying these four rules and you'll be fine...
Being professional means you have researched the people you're pitching, you know their beat and the things they’ve covered recently, you’ve read or watched their past stories and even looked for them on Twitter. It means that you've written a pitch that isn’t an essay or filled with attachments, images or confusion. You sent the pitch at a time that makes sense and not at 9 pm on a Friday. You talk to them like a professional and not like your peers. You have proofread your pitch. You aren’t spamming them via your email server.
You’d be surprised but let me tell you in the past ten years I have seen it all! Misspellings of people’s names, rude calls, you name it. But that isn’t how you operate and because of that you’ll always be fine. If you are genuinely taking your time and being polite and clear and putting effort into a great pitch, you can trust you're doing the right thing.
Being polite also means being sure your pitches have salutations ("Hi, How are you?" etc) and farewells. They don’t include things like “please tell me how you can help me with this” or express annoyance when things don’t go your way
Any time you think you’re being too persistent let me tell you that there is a publicist or eager brand hounding the same member of the media and they are doing it more aggressively than you most likely are. They’re calling repeatedly in a day. They may even be rubbing them the wrong way but they’re determined to get an answer. I’m not saying be this person.
But what I AM saying is that if someone hasn’t said no but isn’t responding you have every right to follow up and keep on it until you get an answer. You don’t have to give up. You have every right to stay in touch because you owe it to your business and yourself to try.
Sometimes things happen instantly in PR. Sometimes things take longer. As silly as it may sound, the press are like snowflakes because they are PEOPLE and no two people are the same. Their schedules vary, their styles are different and the way they like to work is, so you are often at the mercy of factors that are out of your control. This means that you put faith in what you're sharing, your brand story, and the fact that you're obeying these rules, and you learn to wait for a response while actively following up. It may be hard at first, but it will get easier, and getting a sense of how to follow up will as well.