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Why Did No One Respond to My Pitch? 5 Pitfalls to Avoid So That You Get More PR Coverage

Why Did No One Respond to My Pitch? 5 Pitfalls to Avoid So That You Get More PR Coverage

You spend a lot of time writing the perfect pitch to send to a journalist. You may even send it to dozens of outlets. But nobody responds. What gives?! Why aren’t they covering you, your product or brand?

Many people and organizations who are new to publicity aren’t aware of the mistakes they’re making. Keep reading to learn five pitfalls to avoid so that you get more PR coverage.

1. Pitching the wrong outlets

Are you targeting the right journalists with your pitch? It’s important to understand your intended audience and then ask yourself: What media do they consume?

For example, if your startup is focused on helping students who go to a certain university, the most effective way to reach them may be student media at that university in addition to other media in the area. Consider TV, print, online, radio, podcast and other opportunities.

Think twice before pitching outlets that don’t usually cover people or companies like you. If you’re a female empowerment author working on your book publicity plan, you’ll have an easier time getting traction by pitching a local talk show that often interviews similar guests.

While you may have ambitions of reaching top-tier national media such as Forbes and Entrepreneur, you may have more success by first building up a history of coverage at more accessible outlets.

2. Pitching at the wrong time

Think about what else is happening in the news that could overshadow your story. Severe weather and breaking news often stretch newsroom resources, crowding out features and less pressing topics. Check the websites of the outlets you’re hoping to reach before pitching, just to make sure you’re not competing with major news.

Also, it’s generally best to pitch early in the week, with Monday being the best day, and from 5 a.m. to noon, according to a recent Muck Rack survey of journalists.

3. Writing too much

Are you getting to the point quickly in your email? Journalists receive multiple pitches per day, so make sure your first sentence or two stand out. Quickly outline what you’re offering and why a journalist should cover your story.

If it’s too long or complicated, a journalist likely won’t spend the time deciphering your message.

4. Being too self-promotional or not providing value

Earned publicity is NOT advertising. It’s more subtle, and the focus is on providing value to the journalist and to the audience. This is a common book marketing mistake.

Since you’ve spent so much time becoming an expert in your field, share your knowledge. You can provide commentary on local issues or propose unique story ideas that you’re not seeing covered.

While the fact that you’ve released a new book or you have an event coming up is important to you, ask yourself if the outlet you’re pitching generally covers those types of stories.

One of our clients who is a health and wellness author has been booked for topical stories like working out safely in the COVID era and how to improve your mindset at work. The fact that she’s written a book adds credibility and is often mentioned as part of the coverage, but the pitches are often more solutions-focused – How can her knowledge be useful to the journalist and the audience?

5. Not being available and ready to respond

Journalists often move very quickly, and they move on very quickly as well. It’s important to respond right away to coordinate interviews and to get journalists the information they need. Otherwise, you jeopardize the hard work you spent pitching.

Some journalists may ask for a same-day interview or one as soon as possible after your email. Be ready and prepared.

One of the services we offer our clients at Guide My Brand is interview prep. We’re always happy to conduct mock interviews and offer feedback to help build confidence and proficiency.

If you’re an author or entrepreneur looking for an experienced team to help with your next publicity campaign, book a free discovery call today.

Vicky Lynch
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