How many times have you been told – or have you read – that once you send out your press releases, be sure to follow up with the reporters by calling them? I see that mentioned in just about all of the $20 books on publicity you’ll find in the bookstores and libraries.

I hear other speakers tell their audiences to be sure to follow up on every press release they send out.

Seems to be common knowledge.

It’s also one of the most damaging things you can do to your publicity campaigns.

It could cause you to immediately lose interview opportunities. It could cause your press release to be tossed in the trash, even though you may have a good story.

If you’ve ever heard me speak, you know that I’m a fanatic for proving every claim or statement I make. That’s exactly what I’m going to do with this comment – prove it.

In a busy news room (the kind you will often be sending your press releases to) reporters can get 300 or more press releases a day. That means that if you follow the rule of “follow up on every press release with a phone call”, in addition to getting 300 press releases a day, these frantic reporters will also get 300 telephone calls a day!

How interested do you think reporters are in getting 300 phones calls A DAY from people saying: “Hi, my name is Jim Anderson. I sent you a press release the other day and I’m just calling to see if you got it.”

Are you getting my point? Do you now see how ridiculous it is to follow up every release with a phone call?

I’ll make my point even stronger.

When I was sending out press releases during Valentine’s Day season to promote my book “How to Find the Love of Your Life in 90 Days or Less”, I would send out about 1,000 press releases all around the country.

If I followed the silly “follow up” rule, that would mean that in addition to sending out 1,000 press releases I’d have to make 1,000 phone calls! If I did that, when would I have time to do the interviews?

Is my point now crystal clear?

Are there exceptions to this rule? Yes, but they are rare and they almost certainly don’t apply to you.

For example, if you have spent a lot of money putting together a local event (meaning it’s in your town or the surrounding area) such as a fund-raiser and you want to be sure the local media cover it, you can call them to see if they are going to send reporters.

But in this example, keep in mind that you probably only sent out a few press releases to local media people who have a good motivation to attend your fund-raiser.

The vast majority of my publicity students have absolutely no reason to follow up with reporters. I doubt you do either.

Don’t waste your time or the reporters time. You can safely assume they got your press release. If they didn’t respond, either you made a mistake that tipped off the reporter that you don’t know what you’re doing, or you’re not familiar with the other factors that can kill your story.

I’ll go into these when I talk about more of the fatal publicity mistakes people make.

See you next time.

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