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How to get a journalist to actually respond to you and your pitch



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How to get a journalist to actually respond to you and your pitch

It doesn't matter if you're in business for yourself or you're working for a company, getting a journalist to respond to your pitch is a difficult thing to do if you're new at pitching.  You'll need to refine your pitching techniques in order to get the word out about your new, or old, business model.  Contacting journalists is a great thing to do if you want to get the word out about your new business and build authority quickly. 

Most people will write up a huge amount of letters and emails in order to get their names in front of journalists who can help them out, and they always think "They have my information, now they'll write about me!" which usually doesn't happen according to plan.  Normally, you'll send out a few dozen emails and letter to not get a single response wanting to write up some content about your business or website.  In order to increase the chances of getting someone to call, or email, you back after you send out a wave of letters and emails, you should read though my 5 simple tricks to help increase your journalist conversions.


You need to follow up after your pitch
Think about it, you probably get a dozen emails every day to your inbox and you don't even read all of them.  A journalist gets 300 to 500 emails a day just consisting of people pitching them businesses and ideas to write on so they can get in the publics eye.  How often do you think emails get missed when read just a single time and they journalist moves on?  It's fairly frequent actually, and this is why you need to follow up with the journalists after you send your initial pitch.  I would say if you haven't heard back from the journalist within 3 or 4 days, you should follow up with them. 

After your initial follow up, I would wait a few more days to send a second follow up.  After your second follow up email, you don't want to send any more.  You don't want to send any additional emails to the journalist because they could just ghost your future emails and get them sent directly to their spam box since you're pretty much just annoying them at this point.  If you haven't heard back from them after your initial email and two follow ups, you need to consider that they won't be responding to you.  Don't burn that bridge by constantly emailing them and guaranteeing that you will get sent directly to their spam box, then deleted.


Have a unique pitching angle a journalist isn't use to
Think about it, if you're pitching just like the rest of the emails a journalist gets, you won't see much attention coming your way.  Like I said above, they get 300 to 500 emails a day that consist of pitches, and if you're blending in with the rest of the emails, you're not going to get much of a response.  What you'll need to do is have your own angle that is backed by an emerging trend as well as have some statistics to prove you're going to be the next big thing. 

If you're writing journalists and saying "Hi there!  I'm the best at something!" you won't get a single response because there's no information there.  The journalist needs to know all about you before they do any research to back up your words.  Give them the meat AND potatoes of your business and let them decide if they want to write about your business.


Pitch the right journalist
Journalists are like bloggers, they all write about different things and usually stick within a specific industry.  You won't likely get a response from a journalist who focuses on politics and you're pitching them a health and fitness business.  You need to know a little bit about the journalist, especially what they write about, before you send them your own pitch.

If you're just pitching any journalist out there, you're going to be making a lot more work for yourself than you need to.  Think about it, you'll be pitching 100 journalists and only 10 of them will actually think about writing for you.  That means you're sending out 90 emails that didn't need to be sent becuase they had no chance of getting a response.

You can research the journalists on LinkedIn to make sure they write about your niche and industry.  You can also connect with them and see a lot more details about their profiles, as long as they accept your connection request. 

Do your research, pick the right journalists, and send out the best pitches.


Pitch multiple journalists at the same location
If you have every journalists email in your list that you're going to be contacting, you're likely going to hit a ton of people at the same media outlet.  Again, you'll need to target the right people who will write about you and your business.  Just sending out an email to every journalist you can, spreading a much wider net, will likely annoy people and get you listed as spam.

You're better off sending out emails to journalists who are within the same outlet and also cover your topic, so you're still weeding out a lot of people, but you're still getting your email to the right people.


Media outlets have an editorial calendar they follow
If you've sent out a bunch of emails, to 20 or 30 media outlets and haven't heard anything back yet, you might not be targeting them at the right time of the year.  All media outlets have an editorial calendar and they will only write about certain topics during a specific time of year. 

Look through their posting pattern and you'll be able to figure out the best time to pitch a journalist about your new company.  Sure, you'll have to play a waiting game, but it will be worth it in the long run.  If you don't want to wait, you can always contact the journalists prior to the season and always add in "I understand that this may be outside of your editorial calendar, but I just wanted to get on your radar now instead of when you have a bunch of similar emails populating your inbox" then add in your pitch How to get a journalist to actually respond to you and your pitch  After that, you don't really need to follow up with them since they won't write about your anyway.



In Conclusion
What you'll need to do is provide the journalist with valuable information about your company and why they should be writing about you and your company.  You need to pitch an interesting story that the journalist can write in a way that will intrigue their readers, which will boost your authority in the long run.  Getting your journalists to respond is just the first hurdle, if you get them to respond and you have a bad business, they likely won't write about you after they're done doing research.  Be sure you have a good foundation for them to write about before you contact them.



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Razzy

Comments

kgord

Yes, I think you need to have a unique perspective and something that is not run of the mill to get a journalist to respond. They probably have a hundred topics they could respond to, and I think that you might want to make yours a bit different to stand out.



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Tronia

I have never been in a position where I had to contact a journalist myself but knowing the best approaches just in case such situation every occurs is extremely beneficial.

I can only imagine how hard it truly is to get some sort of a response from the journalists since they are busy with all sort of things. It seems a great idea to do a follow up email.

Thank you so much for all the tips!



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Barida

The follow up mail looks fine by me as well in the sense that I can get to connect with the journalists that talks on the niche that I want and get responses from them.



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Judas2018

I normally get contacted by journalists a lot in my line of work so I've never really had to pitch to one before. But the journalists I converse with are ones that operate within a certain space of film and entertainment. Not CNN or anything like that for example. But I'd say the journalists who reach out to me are more 'new media' types.



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Martinsx1

Having to be contacted by a CNN correspondent is definitely rare thing to happen unless you have something worth listening to and probably being a good news to the general public. I have had some run in with magazines journalists when I carried out my first magazine production project.



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Judas2018

Most stories these days that grab the attention of the media involve the following:

  • Someone being terribly abused, ripped off or cheated
  • A horrific tragedy
  • Something sordid like an affair, cheating, theft, identity fraud, etc.
  • Something earth-shattering on a major politician or celebrity. Aka DIRT.
  • Doing a major good deed for someone who just had something very bad happen to them

Beyond that, you won't get much attention from journalists in large, highly populated areas. Even then - most journalists are so backed up with other people who need their help, stories and deadlines - that your 'big event' might not reach their standards of being big enough.



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Martinsx1

@Judas2018 These topics are generally what makes news over here, and any journal and any media house won't wait one second to scoop up such news events.

I actually reported one epidemic outbreak once and it actually made the front page of a local newspaper.



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augusta

Getting a journalist to look one's way is just like getting any highly placed to respond to one in no time.The points listed above can be used to achieve success by anyone one needs to see.A follow up is always imminent to achieve success,pitch the person and follow up with another if there wasn't any response to the first pitch,try a different method of pitching the next time and try to find out the right journalist that would run with your ideas even if you had pitched several of them because of disappointments with these steps in the right direction.Success would be achieved soon.



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Martinsx1

This is really correct, one needs to seek out a journalist that would take interest in things you have to offer and reason from your point of view.



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Everett

My suggestion would be to go to places that they are advertising during the evening news. For instance, if there is an event around you, go there! Usually there is multiple reporters wanting to talk to someone so they can get their input and create a story. News reporters are story tellers, so make sure you tell them a great story!

Where I live it is VERY easy to contact a news reporter becuase they are basically begging for a new story! A little beach town gets quite boring especially in the winter so they want a good story! If you believe that you can spin a great story of how and why you created something, and how much it will help people they will probably report on it. Don't get too shy or nervous about being in front of the camera either, act as if you are talking to future clients or customers - well because you are.



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Martinsx1

I have actually witnessed some people that are very shy in front of a camera. One time, a work colleague of mine practically went dumb on camera because it was his first experience unlike myself that lives and breath with such props.

The feeling of appearing on a national television is what motivates me to be calm in front of camera.



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Barida

The point of connecting with journalists on the path of work that we do looks great to me and considering the fact that I could get to meet them or do an email to them is another point I feel I took out from the article. Thank you for the wonderful work you're doing.



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Martinsx1

I do believe that journalists have wide reach when it comes to getting important contacts, and it's definitely going to be helpful should one link up with one with working the way we do.



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overcast

I have noticed that there are some of the SEO agencies that are dealing with journalists. And they promote stuff through them. And it seems to be working. I have seen some of the sites making use of the HARO too. I think as long as there is a good deal. Then it's possible to manage the journalist to accept the content. And they can get paid in due process.



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Martinsx1

HARO you say @overcast? What's that? I haven't heard about that before, please help me by explaining a little bit more about it.

Thanks.



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overcast

Hire a journalist system. That site has shortform name. As the HARO. You can do the guest posting and the paid promotion of the services and products. That's how you can make use of the HARO. It's good but not always good there as well.



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Martinsx1

Journalists are one hell of busy people, I can tell you that because I'm one. It's my profession, read mass communication and graduated at the top of class grade. Although I'm yet to start practicing but I have colleagues in the league already. They tell me what to expect should I make up my mind to practice.



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Baburra

I'm no journalist but by what you said I can imagine how busy you people get which is why I understand why you may miss an email or two when you feel they are not as urgent or important. It's why I agree a lot with the tip to be persistent in making follow up emails so the person you are sending it to will know that you are serious enough to keep pursuing them and by the 2nd or third letter they might actually read it already.



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Martinsx1

I believe so that's going to work because even if the journalist keeps ignoring your mail probably because of lack of time and opportunity to attend to it, time will come when he or she would have no choice but to respond to it.



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Corzhens

This reminds me of the era before the social media that the only way to get published is through newspaper and magazine editors. My husband would be writing his purpose point blank, meaning it is straight to the point and no dilly-dallying. He gets published often and in the travel section, the articles he sent were all published. From his experience, I’d say just be natural and say what you want so the reader of your email can easily relate and feel your sincerity.



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Martinsx1

Truly we are having everything quite easy now because of advanced technology and innovation. The olden days of manual and analog means of recording information and publishing information really was a hard one. I wonder how freelancing fared at such period.



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Baburra

I agree completely with the tips you provided and thanks again since they are all very useful. I agree most with following up since it's not only useful for contacting journalists but with anyone you want to do business with, really, since not everyone will take you seriously at first but if you are persistent enough then they will realize that you are serious with what you are trying to put forward and they will know that it is a little bit more worth their time than they initially thought. Also, finding the right types of people is also a very good advice as not everyone will be the same just because they have the same job description.



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Martinsx1

The tips are definitely going to be helpful in getting one an audience with a journalist. Persistence is everything when it comes to winning someone's heart and approval. If done in the right manner would absolutely make people around you and the person you want their attention to recognize you.



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Carolortez

Totally agree with the tips in the article. And I would also add "thinking outside the box". There's an awesome article by reply.io about ridiculous cold email templates that guarantee a response You should check it out if you're willing to try something new.



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