Your PR routine
Your working week may look quite different to mine but here’s an idea about how you can keep on top of your PR, week-by-week…
On your working days: Check the news first thing and write a quick pitch before their morning meeting. This might mean getting up and at it by 7am – but most of us are awake then anyway. You can rattle off an email sitting on the loo.
Tuesday mid-morning: Send general pitches. If Tuesday isn’t your working day, write the pitches in advance and either schedule the emails to go out around 10/11am, or quickly send them. I often write a load of pitches in one go – keeping the body content fairly similar but addressing each editor by their first name, adding a personal note about something they’ve recently worked on and mentioning the name of their publication (eg. I’d love to share this story with Stylist readers). I do this in a Word doc, with each email address written out too, so it’s a matter of copying the email address, subject line and body content over from the Word doc – and pressing send. Then onto the next one.
Daily – first thing, nap-time or evening: Check #journorequest on Twitter. Respond to any relevant call-outs for case studies.
It can feel really shit when editors don’t respond, or do but say no. I’m sorry to say but this will happen more often than not. But don’t let it get you down; it doesn’t mean you’re not good enough, it means the timing isn’t right or they aren’t right for you. Someone else may well bite. If you feel it’s a definite no, move on. Try another publication. Try all your favourites first, then move down to smaller publications and websites that you still admire.
And if it still hasn’t happened, but you really want your story out there, you could always pitch to a blog or small website. You probably won’t get paid, but you’ll reach a new audience – via the blog and on social, as they’ll share it with their audience. Also, you never know who might read that blog and think: ooh, she’s cool – I’d like to interview her for a feature I’m writing.
My last resort, when no one wants my idea, is to put it on my own website. That way, I still get it out in the world and sometimes, these pieces are shared hundreds of times on social media. We’ll talk about the importance of blogging shortly, but one good reason to have a blog is that you can publish whatever you like; you don’t have to wait to be commissioned.
But to end this ‘rejection’ section, I’d like to share a recent experience. I pitched that article I mentioned earlier – about my husband quitting his job to help me grow my business – to the Guardian and was told they weren’t commissioning as they had a backlog of articles from freelancers.
They said to maybe try again in a few weeks.
So I did that, and again was told that the story sounded good but the timing wasn’t right. So I waited a few more weeks and emailed saying: I’m giving this one last shot. And I got commissioned. I wrote up the article and it was published in print and online two weeks later. Don’t give up too easily.