You sent your pitch to a journalist and heard nothing back. Insert the dreaded follow-ups.
Follow-up emails get a bad rap because they can seem more difficult to write than the actual pitch itself. We constantly hear PR professionals voicing their confusion when it comes to these emails:
- "What information do I include in the second email?"
- "Should I repeat information?"
- "How long should the second email be?"
While journalists all have different follow-up preferences, one thing is true across the board: 90% of them appreciate the nudge (but only if it's relevant and in-line with what they cover).
To give you some follow-up inspiration, here are a few tips from PR veterans about follow-ups and what has worked for them:
Keep it Casual (and Short)
Most of the time, all you need is a line or two within a follow-up email. This doesn't guarantee a response, but keeping it simple will be something that journalists appreciate. Here's what Tonya McKenzie, CEO of Sand and Shores, had to say:
Make it Personalized
One of the best things you can invest time in is building relationships with journalists. Reporters will always prioritize pitches from PR professionals that they have a good working relationship with, so it's important to put this at the forfront of all emails sent to new reporters.
Linds Bradshaw, freelance PRo, harps on this:
Here are a few topics to make your pitch more personal:
- mentioning recent events in their cities
- recent articles they've written that have resonated with you
- additional insights to articles they have written
- upcoming or previous events they have or will attend
- podcasts they've been guests on, like #CoffeeWithAJournalist
Use Tools to Guide Outreach
One of the most helpful ways to figure out how to approach follow-ups is by using tools that can show a journalist's interactions with your initial pitch. For example, if a journalist doesn't even open your pitch, it might be a wise tactic to send a follow-up with a different subject line.
Here's what this PR veteran had to say about this:
If your budget doesn't allow for paid tools, OnePitch has a free tracking tool for all emails sent through the platform. Users can easily view opens, clicks, and responses by date and time. This helps guide how you want to approach your next email:
Share Additional Angles & News
When sharing story angles in your pitch, it's a best practice that you only focus on one angle in your pitch and make it strongly aligned with what that journalist covers. However, sometimes, that angle just may not be the best fit. Here's where you can use this to your advantage in a follow-up.
According to Rebecca Wright, Director of Media Relations at Break of Dawn, this is what you can leverage another angle:
You can also use a follow-up to showcase any new happenings with that news since you've sent your initial pitch. Here's what Zack Smith, Sports Public Relations Consultant, says about this:
Follow-ups are not easy, but there are several tactics like the above that you can try to make writing those emails a bit easier. Getting to know journalists and how they prefer to be pitched is also important. Podcasts like Coffee with a Journalist give you exclusive intel into hundreds of journalists and their top tips for PR professionals to land stories.
If you're looking for tools for guiding your outreach and follow-up strategy, tap into our arsenal of tools to make pitching the easiest part of your job. Create a profile and try it out for free today!
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