PR pros: A guide to decipher journalist replies

Your go-to guide for translating those “hmmm” and “we’ll consider it” responses to your pitches.

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When pitching PR stories, you’ll come to recognize common responses from journalists.

The responses will run from happy acceptance to disgusted confusion, and it can be tough to gauge exactly what they mean. Instead of taking years to discover them, how about I just list them for you?

1. “Sure, that might work.”

This might sound like a non-response, but it’s typically what a journalist will say when there’s a good chance he will print your press release. It’s rare for any reporter to jump up and down for joy when you pitch him a PR story, so this response is the best you can get.

It means the journalist can “see” the story on the printed page. He can’t guarantee he’ll include it by any means, but his acknowledgment that you have a good idea is all you can really hope for.

2. “Hmmm…”

Your basic idea might need some sprucing up. A rough equivalent of “hmmm” is someone telling you your story is “interesting” and walking away. It’s obviously not interesting, but because the journalist doesn’t know how to tell you that, she just says “hmmm.”

This response means it’s time to decide whether the story is truly newsworthy. It may just be putting readers to sleep.

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