If you don’t hear back from the reporter, it’s a good idea to follow up. So, a few days after I send the original pitch, I follow up by email, forwarding the original email and adding a short note to the reporter following up and offering help if needed. This is a good way to nudge them and remind them of your pitch in case it’d fallen off their radar. There are a lot of different (and very polarizing) opinions out there about following up by phone and from what I’ve read it all depends on the reporter. (Although one thing I’ve gathered for sure, it’s not a good idea to send a pitch and then call 10 minutes later and ask “did you get the email I sent?” This is a major no-no.) Once you have a relationship with a journalist you’ll know whether or not a follow up phone call is a good idea, but for me, this is my first time interacting with these reporters. So for the most part I’ve avoided calling to follow up at risk of alienating the reporter. But there have been a few times I’ve followed up via phone. I did so, mostly with smaller papers, when it seemed like the story was such a good fit that I didn’t think that newspaper would want to miss out on this story opportunity. I was really nervous about calling the first time (and actually typed in the number and then stared at the phone for a minute before finally pressing send) but the phone call actually resulted in a story placement, so that gave me a bit of confidence.
I know the reporters are really busy and therefore cannot always reply, but sometimes I wish they’d just let me know “Nope, we’re not interested” so that I would know and then didn’t have to bother them anymore. After I followed up with one paper I received this, which has to be one of the vaguest most noncommittal brush-offs ever, so it was pretty funny.
“Let me talk to my editor and see if/when I could get some time sometime soon to maybe work on a story and I’ll let you know.”
But at least he responded. So hey, that’s something.