How to follow up your news releases and story pitches

Five tips from the co-author of the book Guerrilla Publicity.

If so, how quickly could you respond if a reporter called you today wanting to cover the story? Would you start groping for words or asking stupid questions like, “Who did you say you wanted to interview?” Or would you be ready on a second’s notice?

Sound ludicrous? Well, it happened to publicist Jill Lublin, who knew how to handle it, and it could happen to you, too.

A few years ago, Lublin pitched an idea about one of her clients, a professional speaker, to Meeting Planner magazine. Despite several follow-ups, she never got a response.

“Then one year later—count ’em—365 days later, I got a call and this reporter said, ‘Yes, we want to do the story, and by the way, tomorrow. Are you ready?’ And of course the answer is yes, you’re always ready when the media calls.” That’s valuable advice regarding follow-ups; never assume a story pitch is dead.

Lublin, co-author of the book Guerrilla Publicity, also says:

• When following up, remember The Rule of Seven. That means you should follow up seven times, using a combination of phone calls and emails, before you stop contacting journalists. But always be ready in case they call you.

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