The good news: The lack of a reply almost never means a journalist hates you. Take that off your list. Often no response simply calls for assessing your pitch and making needed adjustments.
To increase your odds of a reply, use this list of often-overlooked mistakes:
1. You have the wrong contact. Even if you worked with the journalist recently, she could be on vacation. Her publication could have shifted coverage or moved to a different outlet. Her job in her media outlet could have changed. Even after you consult Muck Rack, it’s better to be sure before you send that pitch. Call the receptionist or newsroom to ask if so-and-so is still the correct contact for what you’re pitching. Warning: Don’t ask for “the person who covers news.” You may get stuck with a gatekeeper who promises you he’ll “pass your information on,” i.e., a dead end.
2. You didn’t research. It’s essential to conduct due diligence before pitching a story. I can’t tell you how many pitches I’ve gotten that had nothing to do with our business blog. Warning: Great writing won’t save your pitch if it goes to the wrong inbox.