The Reporter Said “Yes,” Now What?

It’s exhilarating – getting that coveted “Yes, let’s learn more” response from a reporter you’ve spent time researching, crafting the perfect pitch to and diligently following up with. While it may seem that getting the “Yes” is the ultimate end goal, the reality is that the real work has just begun.
The same care and effort put into hooking the reporter must now go into coordinating the opportunity and landing the coverage. Here are some key tips to follow to ensure you get the best results.
Communicate in a Timely Fashion
As the “middle-man”, it is your job to keep all parties up to date. This mean ensuring the reporter that the article is indeed being drafted and/or the interview is still on. For the client, this means reminding them of deadlines and making sure the executive’s time is spent wisely. By communicating frequently, it helps to move the opportunity along and makes everyone feel confident.
Be Honest
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, an opportunity falls through. Perhaps the reporter had to jump on a more urgent story or the spokesperson has a time conflict. In these cases, it’s important to be honest and offer an alternative. Can you suggest an email Q&A over an interview? Or even another executive to fill the spot?
For the client, there is also a valuable opportunity here to learn. By sharing a reporter’s feedback, it could be a good way to fine tune certain messaging or better prepare for the next opportunity.
Always be Prepared
All parties in the opportunity need to prepare, including you. As the PR professional, it is your job to coordinate a seamless opportunity. This means sending the reporter all of the relevant information ahead of time, preparing the client with speaking points and reading up on the topic yourself in case you need to jump in.
Build in a Time Buffer
The stress of a last minute change is never a welcome one. This can be easily prevented by building in a buffer. If it’s for a byline, suggest a deadline a few days before the real deadline. That way, if something “comes up” or extra rounds of edits are needed, you are prepared and don’t have to ask for an extension with the journalist.
Be Humble and Kind
PR and journalism are both fast-paced and sometimes challenging. It’s always good to remember to be nice and genuine. It’ll make for a positive interaction for everyone involved and help to build a stronger relationship next time.
What other best practices do you stand by? Share them in the comments below!

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