Marketing Bootcamp

6 Tips for Handling a Failed Pitch

6 Tips for Handling a Failed Pitch
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You’ve written what you think is a great media pitch. You’ve done your research, written and rewritten, read and re-read. You just know that this is going to score a win for the client.

You send it out, expecting the best, but all you hear are crickets chirping. How can this happen, and now what should you do?

Don’t give up, especially if you know it’s a great story idea. There are things you can do besides letting your failed pitch attempt slide into the trash bin.

When you’ve sent your pitch and there’s no response—it happens to all of us—here are six options to redeem yourself:

1. Re-send the pitch.

Yes, it’s OK to send it again. Sometimes, the journalist simply didn’t see it the first time around. If they’re like most reporters, their inbox is full to the brim with media pitches.

When you re-send it, add a note to say, ”Just wanted to follow up on this—please let me know if you have any questions or need anything further.” Always thank them for their time.

2. Rewrite the pitch—and send again.

If you’ve sent the pitch and followed up, and still haven’t heard anything, you might need to rewrite it. Take a careful look at the subject line and the pitch itself to see if you could take another approach. 

3. Try social media.

You’ve tried email, but that’s not working. Contact the reporter through social media (use this as a guide.)

If you’re already following them and have reached out this way before, you have an established relationship. If not, it’s still perfectly acceptable to try this method. See what outlets they’re active on. If you can see that they’re currently online, that can be even better, increasing your chances of getting their attention.

4. Pick up the phone.

Yes, it’s taboo—I still remember the look of fear on the faces of junior PR pros I worked with at my agency when mentioning a call list. But it can be effective when used strategically.

Nine out of 10 times you’ll end up leaving a message, so be sure you’ve rehearsed it prior to calling. Keep it brief and be sure to include your number.

It’s a good idea to immediately send the pitch again via email (mention that in your voice message).

5. Look for another media outlet.

You’ve created the perfect pitch for what you thought was the perfect outlet, but it wasn’t a fit.

Why not choose another outlet? This may require rewriting the pitch to be a fit for that reporter or publication, but it could pay off if you get a response.

6. Figure out another way to get the news out.

You’ve tried creating a spot-on pitch and attempted to get it in front of what you thought was the perfect target. You’ve followed up a couple of ways, and still received no response. Now what?

Turn to self-publishing if your news or story still needs to get out. There are a number of options, including blog posts, LinkedIn, contributed articles, speaking abstracts and infographics.

What have you done when your expertly crafted pitch doesn’t get the response you were hoping for?


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