Step 10: 4 Ways to Follow up After Sending a Press Release
You’ve drafted your release, pulled together a list publications and pushed the send button – so what’s next? Follow up. Probably the most important aspect of the process that will help secure coverage for your business.
In step 10 of our fast track how to craft the perfect press release, we’re giving you 4 top tips on how to follow up in ways that will both help build relationships with journalists and maximise your chances of success.
1. Look at the news outlet before you make contact: Never contact a journalist to follow up on a press release before checking the publication first. If the news has already been published and you haven’t checked then you risk damaging your relationship with the journalist (and looking rather foolish). Read your target publications before you follow up.
ACTION: Read your target publications on a regular basis and set up a Google alert of your company name so you receive an email when your business is mentioned.
2. Consider your timing: Understanding how your media outlet works is really important as this will help you follow up efficiently. Is it a daily newspaper or for television? Make sure you know this and follow up within 24-hours, but at the right time of the day / week / month so you maximise the opportunity for exposure. For example, a daily publication that goes to print or sends out a bulletin early in the morning will want to hear about news once their morning deadline has passed so they can prepare for the next edition. Know the deadlines and use these to your advantage.
ACTION: Research deadlines of your target publications so you can time your follow up appropriately.
3. Call rather than email: As I’ve mentioned in almost every step of this fast track, the inbox of a journalist is incredibly busy. For a prompt response I would recommend following up by phone rather than email. This will give you the chance to get to know the journalist.
ACTION: Pull together a short script in advance of your call so you can relay your key points clearly.
4. Be clear about the details: When contacting a journalist be precise about the topic of the release, when / how it was sent and who it was sent to, so the journalist knows exactly who you are. If you sent the release to a general editor email then make that clear from the outset so you can be directed to the right person.
ACTION: Have the details clear in your mind before you pick up the phone so you can communicate efficiently with the journalist. Make sure you get a clear answer before finishing the call.
By Kathryn Dishman, Managing Director, KD Communications.
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