Today’s guest contribution is written by Meghan Ely of OFD Consulting. I hear too many people get their submissions rejected by editors of magazines and blogs. Meghan is a PR superstar and I asked her to shed light on this conundrum. Psssstttt… she’s got a sweet deal on her PR collective for 20% off. Keep reading!
You’ve worked hard to craft what you thought was a perfect pitch, sent it out, and waited with baited breath for a response. And what do you get? Crickets!
So now, the inevitable questions come to mind- where did I go wrong?
Listen, PR is not for the faint of heart. For every one enthusiastic “yes!” you’re going to receive at least 5-10 no’s (or worse- radio silence). The good news? There are tricks of the trade to help you catch the attention of the media. So the next time a response to a pitch isn’t as favorable as you’d like, just ask yourself the following questions:
Did you contact them at the right time?
I typically save my pitches for Tuesdays and Wednesdays, because I have found that the media is basically inundated on Mondays and things can get lost in the shuffle if sent on a Thursday or Friday. Additionally, avoid pitches around holidays or immediately following if you can help it- I’m sure you can empathize about an inbox filled to capacity after a few days away.
Now that’s not to say if you have something breaking, that you should wait. Instead, send it immediately- no matter the day. But in general, be mindful of what the recipient’s inbox potentially looks like given the day you hope to pitch.
Did you write the correct person?
If there is one mistake I see over and over again, it’s this- people pitching the wrong person at the media outlet. The best pitches are those that go to thoroughly vetted writers who cover the right beat- that is, a particular topic that a journalistic regularly focuses on. In other words, just because you have mutual friends with an entertainment writer, doesn’t mean you should be pitching a wedding trend article to them.
Instead, seek out those who have consistently written wedding content that matches your area of expertise. It comes down to simply asking yourself- will this person (and his or her readers) actually care about this topic?
Did you pitch for coverage about yourself or did you think bigger picture?
Personally, I find that asking for an entire story to feature you (unless you’ve broken a world record or discovered a cure for an incurable disease of course!) will not be as successful as when you submit fresh, relevant story ideas where you can serve as an expert.
For example, a writer may not have interest in covering your wedding planning company because (I hate to say it)- it’s not necessary a novel idea. But if you have recently dealt with wedding crashers, are inspired by summer trends or would love to chime in on how to manage family disagreements in the planning process, then consider submitting a more evergreen topic and offer to be the lead expert. Over time, the writer will appreciate that you took the time to pitch topics that truly resonate with his or her audience.
Do you have a history with the writer?
You’re far more likely to hear back if you have a pre-existing relationship with a member of the media. If you’re still in the “getting to know you” stage, then don’t start by directly pitching- instead, follow him/her on relevant social media outlets, comment on recent articles- get to know them as much as you can. The key is to really get to know the content of your targeted editorial contact, while also trying to find common ground.
Plus, it simply makes the process more enjoyable. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is the friendships I’ve made in the editorial world- we’ve bonded over everything from our fur babies and vacation plans to our general dislike of mason jars.
The most important thing to remember is to not give up. Keep these tips and tricks in your back pocket when it comes to pitching, and you’ll get a yes in no time!
Need to ramp up your PR skills and get better access to editors? Head over to ofdcollective.com and use the code “sageweddingpros” for 20% off on any of their membership packages (good for a lifetime). Make sure to do so before June 30th.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.