PR 101! When a Journalist or Blogger Doesn’t Want to Cover Your Story
Last month I wrote about the thrill of the PR pitch. I talked about how it’s so exciting when you pitch your client's story to a reporter and they agree to write about it. It's the best feeling in the world for a PR and media relations pro.
But what happens when a journalist outright rejects your pitch?
Well, first I lick my wounds, but only for a minute. It can sting a little when someone says, "No." However, I can’t take it personally because not every pitch is right for every reporter.
The reporter who said, "No," might not be working on a story where your pitch fits at the moment. Or maybe s/he is having a bad day and isn't in the mood to listen to your schpeel.
Whatever the reason, you need to respect their position and handle the situation professionally. Your next pitch might be perfect for them and you don’t want to burn any bridges.
I’ll always ask a journalist to keep the information on file just in case. I’ll even ask them why my pitch didn't work for them if they didn't tell me why initially. Feedback is helpful for making my pitch stronger and learning how and what reporters like to be pitched.
Also, feedback is great for the client. Instead of telling my client a top journalist isn’t interested in her story and oh well, she might be left thinking the journalist doesn’t like her product. Telling her the journalist isn’t interested because he is working on a three-part undercover series and doesn’t have plans in the near future to write on that particular topic will put her mind at ease and help you move on to the next target.
What you should never do is try to change a journalist's mind about covering your pitch. If they say no, they mean no and you should respect that. Thank them for their time and move on to the next contact. Be cognizant that someone at your PR agency will likely want to pitch them again. Acting courteous and respectful will often pay off down the road for future PR and media opportunities.