Sometimes media opportunities emerge quickly after you pitch journalists with a great story idea.
Often, though – especially with the print media – those opportunities take time and the fruits of your labor may not reveal themselves until days, weeks or even months after you send out your pitch.
We experienced a remarkable example of one of those “takes-time moments” recently when a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reached out to us with a surprising request. She wanted to speak with one of our clients for an article we wrote for her campaign that examined how to talk to parents who are grieving the loss of a child.
The journalist remembered receiving our pitch a year ago, about what to say to grieving parents. So she searched her email and, sure enough, there it was, ready to lead her back to us and our client. Now, it just so happens that this particular client’s contract with us ended about eight months ago. Even so, we didn’t hesitate to arrange the interview.
We were happy that the interview went so well for our client as she was featured prominently in the article that appeared in the Journal-Constitution. But it didn’t end there! Over the next several days other publications picked up the article. A week later that was still happening, with the Boston Herald joining those that had published the piece. It was a big win all around, all because of a year-old pitch!
This particular incident brings to mind a couple of things worth remembering when you’re out there trying to grab the media’s interest and worrying that all your efforts are for naught:
- Stay in front of reporters. If you sent out a pitch and nothing happened, don’t despair and don’t give up. Reach out again. And again! You never know which particular pitch that reaches which particular journalist will strike gold. I just had a conversation about this very thing with Ronnie Blair, our senior creative director. He worked for daily newspapers for more than three decades, so he’s experienced with this from the other side. “I used to write about schools and sometimes a school would contact us about an event, and for whatever reason we couldn’t cover it,” Ronnie says. “But instead of letting us know the next time they had something newsworthy, they stopped trying. The schools that received the most coverage were the ones that contacted us over and over, no matter how many times we failed to respond to their pitches.”
- Be patient. Whether you like it or not, your timeline doesn’t count. The media’s timeline does. Maybe you’re not the person who fits into the article they’re working on today, but that could change tomorrow or next week – but only if they know about you. Sure, we all would love to send out a pitch Monday morning and revel in the resulting articles on Tuesday. But rarely does it work that way. It’s fine to hope for instant gratification; just know that a little fortitude may be in order as well.
Lastly, even if you score an interview with a major publication, that doesn’t always mean an article that quotes you will magically appear the next day. Yes, some articles have quick turnarounds, but others might not see the light of print for weeks or months, especially if it’s a magazine article.
So chin up. Your capacity to accept delays may be pushed to the limits, but if you hang in there the rewards could be just one more news cycle away.
P.S. If you’d like professional help getting coverage in the press, and being interviewed on radio and TV, give us a call. We’ve been providing this service to clients for 28 years. We also offer a comprehensive social media marketing program for select clients, where we do it all for you. If you’re interested in our help, please call us at 727-443-7115 Ext. 231. We’d love to hear from you!