You can’t always get it right. Sometimes, regardless of the amount of thought you put into an idea, the time you spend tweaking the pitch or the number of journalists you’ve contacted the results you so desperately want just don’t come through.
So what now?
Is it just bad luck? Do you draw a line under it and move on to the next thing? Or do you continue to fire off pitches with increasing desperation or even succumb to the journalists’ pet peeve of ringing their desk lines to sheepishly ask “did you get my message”?
Before you do any of that, it pays to stop and objectively consider what might have gone wrong in the first place.
It’s easy to get caught up in your client’s enthusiasm, or fall victim to the pressure to push out every single scrap of news they feel is worth sharing. But as well as providing the contact between your client and their target media, it is also your job as a PR professional to be the voice of reason. Take a step back and consider, is this really of interest to those outside of your client’s office walls?
Is there another way you could position the information you’re sharing? If so, why not try a new angle? Rework your release, your pitch, to give it fresh life. Or change your offering. It may be more effective to offer a journalist the opportunity for an interview with your client rather than an entire article on their ideas.
This one’s dead simple, and should be considered from the very beginning. But if a pitch isn’t working it’s worth looking again at those you’ve chosen to share it with and confirming whether this really something they’d find newsworthy?
Additionally, if your client has preferred press contacts in mind who, in reality, won’t find the information you’re sharing very interesting at all, it’s your duty to point this out and explain the reasons why rather than setting your client up for disappointment. A better move would be to suggest some alternative, far more suitable options.
If your story isn’t time sensitive, what’s the urgency? Don’t just consider the time of day or day of the week you’re sending out your information but even the time of year, and whether there’s any national or international events that might be diverting your chosen journalist’s attention. Be aware, and pick your moment.
Of course, sometimes things just don’t work out. And that’s fine. But, if at first you don’t succeed, take a moment to consider whether it’s worth taking the time to try, try again.
And if it is, take a closer look at how.
Our BlueSky blog is full of posts on how to write effective pitches, craft genuinely interesting press releases and how to analyse whether the news you’re pushing out is actually news in the first place. Why not go and take a look?
Contact us to discuss how we can get more coverage for your institution.
Author: Kerry Ruffle