Publicity & Media Relations Frustrations

Why are media not responding to my news release or pitch?


By Jennifer Manocchio

Just because media does not respond, that does not mean the media contacts are not interested in your message.  In fact, there are numerous reasons why media may not respond to your news release, pitch, press kit, etc.

1.  Too much to review; not enough time: Media receive hundreds of emails, phone calls, voicemails, envelops and faxes a day.  It is impossible for media to respond to every single piece of communication they receive, whether they are interested or not.  Otherwise, they would never get their stories completed on time.

2. Not a fit for their beat: Your news release or pitch may not be the best fit for their beat.  While media database programs like Vocus, BurrellesLuce and Cision help identify beats, their contacts are not 100% accurate (in most cases they are only about 50% accurate).  Also, in light of all the media layoffs and publication closings, reporters are taking on additional beats or new beats.  The most effective way to ensure you have the best contact is to double-check the news outlets’ web site or simply call to confirm the contact.

3. Holding for future use: Media often hold onto news releases, media kits, pitches, etc. for future use.  Perhaps the information might be a good fit for an industry round-up story.  Or your story is “evergreen” and can wait.  One way to reduce this from happening is to tie your story into current events, holidays, seasons, etc.

4.  No additional information needed:  This is a good scenario because it confirms all the important facts were included in your media communication.  Also, reporters often do not have time to conduct interviews or chase down pertinent information, especially when they already have what they need.

5. Did not receive release, press kit or pitch:  Spam filters are the biggest culprits.  Be sure your email communication does not include spam words.  Check for a list of words that trigger spam filters.  Other forms of communication like faxes and even snail mail can get lost in the sea of paper media receive.

6.  Email subject line or headline wasn’t interesting: The media have very limited time and are typically on deadline.  Therefore, they scan email subject lines and news release and pitch headlines to determine if they should read on.  Be sure your email subject lines, news release and pitch headlines are short, catchy and relevant.

7. Not interested in your story: Sometimes you may have what you think is the best story, but the media contact is just not that interested for one reason or another.  However, keep in mind that just because one media outlet is not interested, does not mean another reporter will not bite.  Different media are interested in different stories at different times.


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Jim Sweeney


Jim is a veteran of the agency industry and the founder of Sweeney. He is uncommonly passionate about the idea of creating and implementing insanely great marketing campaigns that achieve insanely great results. He pioneered the full-service, full-circle agency model and continues to forge new ideas in an ever-changing industry. And he is accessible to everyone about anything, seemingly all the time, serving as a mentor to all agency personnel and clients.