4 Key Signs A Journalist Is “Just Not That Into You”

If you’re anything like the millions of women (or men who have had to suffer through conversations about it) that have read the best-selling dating book or the star-filled movie, you know the basic premise of ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’: contemplations of what guys really mean by their actions (or lack thereof).

How can this popularly-viewed mentality be applied to media relations?

Easy. It’s the same basic premise—if they’re not calling you or returning your calls, they’re not interested.

Here are some warnings signs that it’s time to re-evaluate your media relationships:

They’re Just Not That Into You if… they never respond back to you. Seems pretty logical, right? Circling back or touching base with a reporter for the fifth time ‘probably’ won’t suddenly catch their attention. Your email ‘probably’ didn’t get accidentally sent to spam; more like purposely deleted.

They’re Just Not That Into You if... they don’t remember your name. Yes, reporters are really busy and may need a reminder from time to time, but if you have a relationship with them, they shouldn’t stumble on who you are.

They’re Just Not That Into You if… they tune you out. The key to a great pitch is brevity. Keep it simple. Recognize that you value their time and establish the reason why you are contacting them right from the start. Don’t make them search for it. Summarize your point with a few bullets that you feel may interest them.

They’re Just Not That Into You if… they don’t see the connection. Don’t try to force a hook. If your company sells paper clips and just came out with this study about them, it’s probably not going to fit into a story being pitched to a reporter covering local libraries (but creativity counts for something!).

Most importantly, don’t get too discouraged if you haven’t had any luck with a particular reporter. Building relationships takes time. Do your homework, be relevant, become a valuable resource (even if you aren’t the one that ends up being quoted), be accessible and most importantly—don’t take it personally.

We would all like the cover story. But, by building relationships now, the reporter is much more likely to take your call or respond to your email when you’ve got a story to tell.

About the Author
Lesly Cardec is a public relations manager residing in South Florida. Passionate about thought leadership and writing, Cardec regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and parenting blogs/websites. Lesly is also an avid Florida State fan (and proud alum), a first-time mom, and a firm believer in “paying it forward”. Follow her on Twitter at @LeslyCardec or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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6 comments on “4 Key Signs A Journalist Is “Just Not That Into You”

  1. Great post, Lesly! I especially agree with your statement that good relationships take time to build, and one press release email or one pitch phone call will not be sufficient if you really want coverage with that particular outlet.

    PS. Andrew– I love the new blog look 🙂

  2. Thank you Krista! Glad you agree- it does take time..just like any other relationship, right? I am sure you are also a big fan of the book/movie? 🙂 Have a great weekend!

  3. These are really great tips to any PR professional. I am currently a senior in college, and in my media relations class we have been learning a lot about how to pitch a story to a journalist. The tip I liked the most was the key to a great pitch is brevity. I agree it’s best to keep a pitch simple and concise, but also have some type of way to engage the reporter so he/she is interested in possibly writing your story. It’s not necessary to pitch to a reporter who doesn’t write on the topic of your pitch. These tips are great learning tools for students as well, who are working or soon to be working with journalists. Great post!

  4. Hi Nicole!

    I am so glad that you enjoyed! Brevity is key considering that journalists work on really tight deadlines. So the key is to tell them the point right upfront. Don’t devote 3 paragraphs to your/spokesperson’s background. Answer the most important question right away,”What’s in it for THEM?”….


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