The purpose of pitching a story is to get coverage for it. That means that if someone offers to write about the topic you’ve proposed and asks for the product you mentioned or simply for more info, you need to reply to their emails. Not keeping track of who you’ve pitched to is a bad idea in such a case. Especially if instead of following up, you resend the same pitch and fail to reply to the second inquiry.
If you don’t know how to keep track, here’s a simple idea: get a list of names and emails of people to contact. As you send your message to them, mark them in a different color. If they reply and need more info, use a third color. It’s easy and a bit playful. And if you’re good at mixing colors, it looks good too.
Following up is a must. For both those who have shown interest and for those who’ve not replied. Those interested will actually publish after you give them what they need to do so and a friendly reminder with some interesting details might help others decide to publish your story in the end.
Why is this such an important matter? As it happens, lots of pitches are released in the wild – as a recent comment by Karen Swim also shows – and bloggers’ emails are never replied to. For example, yours truly received an email asking her to review a business book. The book seemed interesting enough, so I replied, asking for a copy. Of course I never got one. Judging by the semi-standard message, I wasn’t the only one who received that email. And I can bet I wasn’t the only one not to get a proper reply. Which translates into missed opportunities.
Pitching is not always a single-action task. Sometimes you need to follow up, provide more information, be able to answer additional questions. In all honesty, most times it’s not as easy as just sending out an email. If you’re not going to seize all opportunities and focus on getting as much coverage as possible, don’t do it in the first place. You’re not only missing out on something really good, you’re also making sure you get yourself and your client one of those nasty, negative images.
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