What to do if a journalist says no to your pitch

What to do if a journalist says no

Have you spent hours carefully crafting a media pitch, sending it to a journalist, following-up a few days later with a phone call and they say no, not interested? So where do you go from here?

Don’t get disheartened, there are many reasons a journalist may have turned down your media pitch. If this happens to you, there are some steps you can take to still get media coverage.

Here are some reasons why a journalist may not have been interested in your media pitch.

  •  Timing: You may have pitched your idea right before a breaking news story. Journalists will then be extremely busy gathering the latest information about the breaking news and may not have time for other stories. There’s not much you can do about this, except re-pitch your idea when the breaking news is over, if your pitch is still timely and relevant.
  •  It’s been done: A journalist may have already covered the topic you have given them. If your story idea doesn’t provide the journalist with a fresh angle they won’t write about the same topic again. You will either have to come up with a fresh angle or hope they keep you in mind next time they write a story on a similar topic.
  •  Interest: Each journalist has a preference for the kinds of stories they are interested in. If you are pitching to the media it’s then your job to find out what those interests are. You can do this by reading their articles, looking at their bio, finding them on LinkedIn or searching to see if they have a blog. With this information you can then gain an insight into the topics of interest to the journalist. This will help you to pitch ideas that a journalist is more likely to say yes to.

 How to still get coverage

If your media pitch has been rejected, there are a number of different tactics you can implement to try and get media coverage with the same pitch.

  •  Pitch it somewhere else: This one is an obvious tip, but ensure to personalise the pitch before sending it somewhere else. If you send the pitch to another journalist but don’t update their name they may become angry at you or ignore the pitch.
  • Edit the pitch: If the journalist gives you feedback on why the pitch wasn’t interesting to them, take their feedback on board, edit the pitch and send it somewhere else. If you didn’t receive feedback from the journalist, have a brainstorm with your colleagues or mentor to figure out what you can do to make it more interesting.
  • Target different media: Did you write the pitch with a specific industry in mind, for example a travel journalist? If so, you may be able to adapt the pitch to suit a journalist from a different industry such as hospitality or marketing.
  •  Write the story yourself: You can write an article or blog post based on the media pitch. Many trade publications are looking for good quality content and will happily accept submitted articles. You can also post the article on your company blog, if you have one.

Sometimes, as hard as you may try, you just have to let the pitch go and accept it wasn’t the right time for it to be published. When pitching to the media, not everything you do will yield fantastic results. Public relations is a long-term commitment that requires effort, creative thinking and resourcefulness in order to be successful.

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Sydney Public Relations Agency, CP Communications provides specialist media, traditional and online PR strategies that get amazing results. Contact us today. For more PR tips see www.PublicRelationsSydney.com.au.

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