The Power of Following Up When Coaches Work with Media
Editors’ and reporters’ inboxes are filled with hundreds of emails daily from experts, public relations professionals and others vying for their attention. Sometimes your initial outreach may get lost or overlooked, despite a reporter’s best intentions. Knowing the proper way to follow up on your pitch can make the difference between earning a fantastic feature and never hearing back at all.
When to Follow Up
Be mindful of when it is appropriate to follow up. If you pester the reporter too quickly, you may come across as impatient or ignorant of the demands of media reporting. If a reporter associates these traits with your name, it could start the relationship off on the wrong foot and reduce the chances that the reporter would want to work with you. But when done professionally and courteously, many reporters appreciate a follow-up note to make sure the information was received.
As a general guideline, wait a few days to a week before sending a follow-up note, depending on how quickly the outlet’s publication cycle moves and the urgency of your pitch’s timeliness.
If after two attempts to follow up by email you still do not have a response, it’s time to pick up the phone. When calling, keep it brief, and remember the reporter may be on deadline. After confirming the reporter has a minute to talk, give a succinct overview of the pitch you shared in your email.
Sometimes this is enough, but if the reporter does not seem interested, a few short questions can help you understand how you can be of further help, such as:
- Is this a topic you would be interested in learning more about?
- What upcoming topics are you working on right now?
- Are there topics or resources that you often find yourself seeking?
Focus on how you might be helpful to the reporter in accomplishing their work. Even if the reporter isn’t interested in the immediate topic you pitched, you may discover new ways to offer value in the future.
Provide Additional Information
Your initial pitch should be brief and share only the most pertinent highlights. But a follow-up email can be a great opportunity to share a point or two of additional context.
What might help catch a reporter’s attention? Consider providing links to timely research, or images that help explain a complex topic. If these are not available, an additional point of supporting context for the topic, or a particularly interesting insight, can also be effective.
Besides pitching, there are other ways to get the attention of a reporter. Pay attention to their latest stories, and don’t be afraid to engage them by replying to their posts on social media or commenting on their articles on the outlet website.
As this familiarity builds, it’s more likely the reporter will recognize your name in their inbox, and place higher priority on reading it to see what you have to share. This can reduce your need for follow-up over time—though it’s unlikely to ever eliminate follow-up completely.
You’re Ready to Follow Up
If you a reporter doesn’t respond to your pitch immediately, rest assured you are in good company. Reporters are extremely busy, and this is often more a reflection of their inbox flow than their interest. It’s important to be persistent—don’t give up until you have followed up a few times.
Be polite and brief, share additional information, and keep working to build the long-term relationship. You may find the reporter is grateful for your efforts!