Breathe a sigh of relief. You’ve achieved what all companies long for – free publicity – by following a few simple steps. Reaching out to that reporter was no big deal, and it was nice getting to know someone new. That press release you agonized over? Your painstaking attention to detail was worth it when they called for an interview. And the interview? It was as easy as talking to an old friend.
Now, you wait.
The dictionary gives two starkly different definitions for waiting – to remain inactive or to be available while eagerly anticipating something to come to pass. My personal definition also includes “a slow type of torture.”
People as a whole don’t enjoy the process of waiting. We want what we want, and we want it now. But as you await the publication or broadcast of your story, there is an opportunity for your company to make a name for itself in the world of journalism, and it’s probably not the way you would think.
Send a thank you note – immediately.
Sending a small note of appreciation to the journalist who made time to read your press release, conduct the interview, and actually write a story, will speak volumes about your and your company’s integrity. I can remember every thank you note I received from organizations after their stories ran. I even remember the quickly-typed emails that simply told me they appreciated my hard work. And you know what? Next time they needed some press, I did everything I could to make sure it happened. Never underestimate the power of saying thank you.
Maintain Your Relationship
You don’t have to buy your reporter gifts or invite them to hang out at your family’s beach house to keep your work relationship intact. If they have professional social media profile, ask to be their friend or start following them on Twitter. Every now and then, comment on one of their latest postings just to remind them you’re still there, still engaged, and still a fan of their work. Also, when your piece is finally published, share the link on your company’s social media page, making sure to extend your thanks again to the journalist.
Sometimes life gets busy, deadlines get extended, and editors decide one story must go to press before another. If it’s been a while since you’re interview and you still haven’t seen your story published, give your journalist a little grace. We don’t mind if you want to shoot us an email after a week or so inquiring about when you’ll be able to see the story in print, but don’t be pushy. We know what you want, and we want it too. But we are at the mercy of the big decision makers.
Also, unless we said, “Feel free to call us,” please try to communicate in another way, like email. If we’re elbow deep in the middle of your story, it can be difficult to get back into the flow after answering several calls. Of course, we know sometimes a phone call is the only way you can reach us. If this is the case, please remember to be courteous and understand we are doing our best to help you. Your story will get written and published as quickly as possible.
Now you know my inside secrets of how to get a journalist to notice your company.
- Build those relationships,
- craft those press releases,
- nail your interview, and
- follow it all up with a simple thank you.
Finally, be kind to your reporters. It’s a big world out there with a lot of news to cover. And out of all the businesses on earth, we chose yours to write about. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.