Why our publicists don’t take “no” for an answer

Calling reporters and pitching new stories every day isn’t an easy job. For every “yes” a publicist gets from a reporter, there is likely to be four times as many “no’s”. Not every station and newspaper is going to be interested in your client or product; that’s just the way things are. The key is to find out why that reporter doesn’t want to cover your story. You can’t just hear “no” and expect that to always be the end of the conversation.

Try and dig a little deeper. Ask (politely of course) why the story isn’t a fit. It could be just a matter of bad timing; perhaps the reporter just completed a similar story or only wants to cover something they can connect with a current event in the news. Ask your reporter what would have made the story opportunity more compelling for them. This gives you a chance to do a little thinking on your feet to come up with an alternate story angle that may appeal to them better. At the very least, you will know what the reporter is looking for on future stories.

One of our publicists recently sent a couple segment pitches to a producer for the CBS morning news. The ideas were turned down during the network’s editorial meetings. Curious, the publicist followed up with the producer to find out the reason the ideas were turned down. Turns out, the producer loved both ideas! The only problem was the network wants stories they can tie in to timely current events. Now our publicist knows to keep her ears open every day for news and events that relate to her pitches.


Written by Krista Wignall

Krista is a former TV news producer, so she’s a natural at working with the media. She’s also creative and persistent. When she’s got a good story that needs to be told, she won’t give up until she’s made it happen.