Getting reporters to respond

Getting reporters to respond

How do you get more reporters to respond to your pitch? Here are a few tips:

1. Sign-offs matter. How you close your email before your signature is really important. A recent study showed that “Thanks in advance” had a response rate of 65 percent vs. “Best,” which had a response rate of 51 percent. The study didn’t look into the psychology of the respondents, but a little dose of gratitude clearly goes a long way.

2. End in a question. “Would you be interested in speaking with me?” will generate more responses than “Please let me know if you’d be interested!” After all, people are much more likely to reply to a question than a statement.

3. Follow up! Most Internet users are bombarded with emails everyday, and it’s easy for messages to get buried. Sending a follow-up bumps your message back to the top of the inbox. I’ve even had reporters respond to me after the third follow-up — specifically citing my persistence. Of course, you shouldn’t be annoying. But a polite follow-up seldom hurts.

4. Pick up the phone. When all else fails, call the reporter (unless, of course, the reporter has previously requested not to be contacted). In my experience, reporters usually appreciate the call. In fact, they often brainstorm with me about the pitch right on the phone.

Miriam Cho