Thursday, January 10, 2019

Pride, Follow-up and The Chase - Life of a PR Pro

Today I'm sitting here at McCuenications PR HQ beaming with pride over one of my dearest friends getting an article published on a highly reputable website. It was not only accepted and posted - it's also on the home page of a section. A tremendous placement. My friend works super hard, puts the happiness of others ahead of her own, and now that she's "putting herself out there," was more than deserving of a win. And this is a big win indeed. Congrats, KK. You are the rock star of the day.

Another friend spent the day in Wash DC lobbying government officials to help with the return of her daughter who was abducted by her ex-husband. Long crazy story, but she's fighting the good fight and things are looking good after many years of frustration and dead ends. Hang in there, MMR - we're all rooting for you and "Babycakes."

Life is a numbers game, folks. You gotta keep knocking on doors, expanding your contact network, sending more emails, making more phone calls and on and on if you want good things to happen. This is especially true if you're struggling to put points on the board for a client or searching for a new gig. Salespeople know this more than anyone. I'm not sure if they still live by this ratio, but years ago, experts said you should expect to hear 99 "no's" before you get the one "yes!" that leads to closing a sale. That scale of rejection isn't easy to deal with and it's hard not to get discouraged and give up. Keep pushing and if you're feeling burned out, take a break and refresh. And then get back in the ring and start throwing punches again...

Following-up is big in PR. It was the question I dreaded the most when I was at my very first agency job. I had a client who would always ask, "did you follow up?" when I reported that a media contact didn't reply to my email or phone call. It was annoying as...but pushed me to anticipate that question and address it proactively before that client could ask it again. "Reached out, no response, followed up, will continue to reach out until I get an answer." Boom, next.

Seriously, reporters receive dozens of pitches every day. Plus their own internal emails from editors and colleagues. They're human - they miss things, they get overwhelmed, they work on deadlines and often just don't have time to hit reply and say, "Yes, please send" or "No thanks" or even just "Pass." So yes, you do have to "follow up." Just keep it short and sweet and empathetic. Also, try sending an email or calling during slow hours - like super early in the morning or even late at night on their *office line* (not their cell) to leave a VM - so it's first thing they see/hear in the morning.

We also tend to spend a lot of time "chasing" media in our business. Someone says "Sure, I'd love to speak with your client." Next thing you know, you're sending that secured interest over to the client, feeling good, send back the client's availability to the reporter, get ready to pop the cork on the champagne and then...silence. No response. And then, if you work for someone, the second guessing and Monday morning quarterbacking kicks into full effect. You didn't respond fast enough, your response was too passive, you should have just sent a calendar invite, etc. Everyone's an expert after the fact. Whatever. In these situations, it's important to take a step back and relax for a second. You never know what's going on at the other side of an email exchange. Things happen, other priorities get in the way, reporters get distracted by a breaking deadline. Could be any number of things. If they expressed interest, give them the rest of the day to get back to you - and the following morning, if necessary. Then send a quick reminder - again, short and sweet and empathetic. It works, trust me. Don't panic.

Now I just need to follow my own advice! I've been pushing hard to line up interest for one of my new clients -it's a project I'm working on, not a monthly retainer client. Pressure is on in these situations because you want to make a good impression and turn a project customer into a long-term client. I got a reporter at one of their priority media outlets interested in speaking with the CEO, but when I asked about time zones, the reporter's location vs. my client's (west coast), I response. Yet. Fingers crossed I can get this sorted out early tomorrow morning and move on to that briefing doc. Wish me luck.

Ok, so much for keeping these posts short and sweet. As always, I welcome your comments. Back again towards the end of the week. (I promise, KK).



  1. Really good insight. Thanks for sharing.

  2. You bet. Glad you found it helpful. Thanks for stopping by!