#BASICS: Why Tactful Media Follow-Up is a Must
At Levitate, it’s our job to convince people to listen intently to a sound in a world filled with noise. That means we have to skillfully craft messages and pitches that deliver differentiated content and demand to be noticed.
But even still, there are barriers to securing attention. Especially with reporters. Reporters are busy. I guarantee your email overload pales in comparison to the overload reporters are dealing with every day. Reporters are taxed to the extreme, yet they want and need to know the news that matches their beat, angles and interest.
Our job is to make it easy and always be of value. Once you have the story angle and news, you make your first contact. But that’s only the beginning. To help identify the sound, you have to guide carefully through the clutter. That requires follow-up.
Here are three tips to execute a tactful follow-up that builds rapport and demonstrates your ability to work effectively with the media.
Make Things Happen
Seems obvious but must be said nonetheless. If a reporter has responded with questions or wants to speak with a company spokesperson, this is now your top priority. Clearly communicate deadlines and expectations with your contact and keep them in the loop throughout the process.
Say Something That Matters
If you haven’t heard back from a contact, shoot them a succinct email the next day or two—no longer than that—offering additional resources (i.e. digital media, supporting data, another quotable source) or reinforces the story angle they’d likely take interest in. And by additional resources, we don’t mean a link to the website or the quote already included in the press release. Think about each reporter specifically and offer up something unique that aligns with the outlet. Also, limit pleasantries and get to the point.
Pick Up the Phone & Call BUT…
Be real and be respectful. Don’t call a busy reporter with something you don’t truly believe deserves that attention. We all know sometimes we have to push out press releases with tier three news. Set realistic expectations with your client and don’t bother a reporter just to check “follow up” off your to-do list. But if you have something good, give a quick call. Remember that reporters are just people trying to do a job—and a challenging one at that. Ultimately, be considerate of their time and respect their judgement. Sometimes you are going to get a no. It happens. Take it and move on.
Secrets exposed. Get out there and work it. If you do it right, reporters will be glad every time you come back to them.