Anyone who has ever read a book on sales or taken a sales course has heard it: on average it takes anywhere from 3 to 10 contacts before a sale is reached. Although sales and publicity are very different animals, the same rule of thumb applies when pitching your release or story idea to the media. Because of the Internet and email, media outlets today are bombarded with hundreds, if not thousands, of media pitches each week. So, it’s more important than ever to make sure your release gets noticed. This doesn’t mean pitching to more media outlets; it means your publicist or PR staff should take the time to pitch to your specific media market multiple times.
Whether you pitched the release yourself or hired someone to do it for you, you need to know whether the release made contact. Sure it arrived, but is that the release that editor needs that day, for that article or for that issue? Hopefully so, but many times that is not the case; the release is either saved for future use (again, hopefully), or more than likely it is set aside, trashed or deleted. The releases and pitches that get used are the ones that are newsworthy, media-friendly and that arrive at opportune times. As you might imagine, a perfect combination of all three translates into your best chances of media coverage and publicity.
When you use a release distribution service, your release gets pitched ONCE. However, the most successful campaigns are those that are strategically and effectively maintained and/or re-pitched with calculated frequency. Most media outlets either don’t or can’t respond to your initial release or pitch. Based on my professional experience as a PR/Publicity specialist, I would estimate that media placements occur in the following manner:
- 25% occur after the 1st – 2nd pitch
- 50% occur after the 3rd – 5th pitch
- 25% occur after the 6th – 8th pitch
Sometimes (in fact most times) a strong placement happens when a release hits an editor at the right place at the right time. Sure you may have pitched that media contact three times over the last few weeks, but perhaps that reporter/editor/producer didn’t have the time or the editorial space to work your release into a placement. Your opportunity for placements increases with meticulous media follow-ups and re-pitches. What many business owners/entrepreneurs don’t realize is that the majority of media outlets fail to respond until after the third or fourth pitch. I continue to be amazed and amused at the editor or producer who, upon receiving a pitch for the fourth time, says, “I’m so glad you reminded me of this release!” or “Great timing! This will fit perfectly in a feature we’re doing this week!” If the release had been pitched just once, and not followed up on, those placements would not have taken place.
So make sure your PR staff isn’t afraid to wind up and pitch your campaign multiple times. Just like in baseball, the more pitches there are — the better chances you get to make a hit.