The Art of Follow Up

by Booth Media Group

Good things come to those who work. And better things come to those who work hard. In PR, the hard work is the follow up. We send out press kits, packages, and pitches with what sometimes feels like wild abandon. Desks around the world are graced with materials from our office. The inboxes of countless producers and editors hold striking PDF press kits attached to friendly email pitches from our publicists with compelling subject lines. But is it enough to put together a beautiful press kit complete with sample interview questions, compelling topics, and a riveting press release on colored paper?

Of course you know the answer is, “No!”

At Booth Media Group, we pride ourselves on being “Pleasantly Persistent” in our efforts to work with the media. Whether we leave voice messages or send emails, we always have a smile in our voice and are clear in our emails. We know our media contacts are incredibly busy, often getting hundreds of messages and emails each day. To make it easy for the media to book our clients, we send multiple emails (but not too often!) and call frequently in order to have the best chance at speaking to a live person.

We often hear that the 10th email was the ticket, or that the 7th call that ended in a conversation was just what the media wanted. “Oh, thank you for trying again! I wanted to book with you but the email got lost in my inbox,” they say. Or, “So glad you emailed again. The timing is perfect right now as we are covering politics all week. Your client is perfect to have on the show to discuss the primaries.” That extra mile is one of the keys to our success in results. Being the right person at the right time takes persistence.

And when that last email results in a “No, thank you; we’ll pass this time,” we never argue. We’re just glad to be considered and to get a response. After all, no one likes arguing with a stranger about something they don’t want. It makes no sense to burn bridges with the media just because they’re not interested in this story; they might love the next one, so we need to let them know we respect them even when they say no.

The art to follow up is to realize that the media are people, too. Let’s make their lives easier by making it simple to say “Yes, let’s book!” That way, we all win.

5 timeless truths about PR

By Booth Media Group

1. We’re all human. That’s right – you’re a person, and the people on the other end of the email or phone are people, too. So, talk to them like people. Put some dang personality into your pitches and your follow up messages. Think you’re tired of leaving the same voicemail 100 times? Try listening to it over and over. It’s ok to be a little spicy (professionally speaking, of course.)

2. Grammar matters. Typos display a lack of care. Do you like getting emails from strangers rife with dropped words and misplaced modifiers? Probably not. Double check your spelling!

3. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. If you say you’ll call back at 1:09 pm PST, then do it. Make a note, set an alarm, tie a whole ball of yarn around your finger. Follow through on your word. And if they say, “Thanks for the pitch, but no thanks,” don’t argue – respectfully accept this professional rejection and leave the bridge to that producer solidly in place for the next client.

4. Your listeners can hear the smile in your voice. But the reverse is also true: you can hear the smile (or lack thereof) in their voice, so be ready to adjust your pitch as needed to match the mood of the person on the other end. Are they sounding stressed right now? Offer to call back later. Do they sound like they want to chat a bit? Throw in some small talk – see point 1: you’re both humans!

5. Do for others what you would want done for you. So you need interviews and bookings for your clients, and that is why you’re calling and following up with the media. But what do they need? Be aware and alert of what your contacts are looking for – if you are genuinely helpful in providing good stories, guests, and information, you move from being an annoying fly buzzing around their voicemail to a valued friend or respected resource. And in this business, friends and valuable resources matter.