This is not a post on messaging, having contacts, or a great pitch.
Rather, it’s about two simple principles about listening and sustaining your pitches.
Hurry and step right up…. your great story in the makings can become a reality by following logic and few simple rules of follow up.
Photo by me, shot at Coney Island, NY 2011
Listen. Re-pitch. Sustain.
Let’s say you have a great story about your start-up, your technology or platform.
You do all the right things, and it falls on deaf ears. Unless you have done something really dumb, or your story is weak, you might want to re-visit your message pitch, or the types of media and a respective contact you have gone after. But let’s assume you’ve done the basics and things are just not sticking….
When my pitches fail, I’ll ask the journalist why.
I consider this to be the best feedback and market research one can do.
In many cases, there’s just too much backlog. The journalist / blogger loves your story but is jammed up. That’s not a bad thing. It’s the reality of the volume of cool companies being launched not only in the U.S., but world wide.
In other cases, your story may have merit, but the journalist / blogger wants to know more – such as customers, strategic partners, investors, company size, and who the main players in your company are – and where they came from.
I often get requests from customer application stories. Have those ready – or at least in the beta phase.
Sometimes, the journalist / blogger just does not like your story. That’s not bad. It’s good feedback. Thank them for their time and move on.
When a pitch fails (or is delayed) I ask if the journalist / blogger is open to another pitch. Depending on the relationship you have or need to cultivate, ask what might make your pitch viable for further consideration. Again, great feedback.
If you’re asked for customer stories, go get some profiles and re-pitch If you need an industry analyst’s commentary, do your homework, brief some analysts that are relevent and re-pitch.
Most of this is just common sense, ground work and follow up.
Your story aside, offer being a resource on your subject matter of expertise. Then you’re not “selling,” your helping.
By sustain, I don’t mean being a pain in the ass and calling or emailing the journalist / blogger weekly.
After you’ve done your homework, follow up. You’ve asked permission. You’ve done your homework, so circle back.
Maybe you have some “new” news you can offer as an exclusive. Read what the writer writes and keep track of what they are covering, who they are covering, the style in which they write and which events they attend.
And Speaking of Events….
Events, trade shows, conferences and meetups where journalists / bloggers go can help increase your chances of meeting and connecting in person. Follow your targeted journalist / bloggers and see where they are going and connect.
In My Experience…
Pitching is part art, part science, and yes, part luck.
Don’t ignore the later.
Part of the luck comes from being there, being helpful, and sustaining your story over time.