You have finally written the perfect pitch; catchy headline, fascinating content, and sent it out to a plethora of relevant journalists. Then, a journalist responds, interested in featuring a piece from your client. But what do you do next?
When you get that exciting email from a journalist, your work is far from done. You must now continue to manage the process until that piece is finished and published by the journalist, and even beyond that.
Get all the details
Firstly, you must find out as much information as you can from the journalist about the piece they want from your client. You need to know the word count, deadline, the tone of the article, what information they would like covered, and whether they need anything else from you, such as pictures or a bio of the client. Having all this information to hand before contacting your client about the opportunity will speed up the whole process.
Prepare your client
All this information must then be communicated to the client as clearly as possible. Make sure they understand the desired tone of the article: an article filled with academic and scientific jargon would not be appropriate for a management publication, for example.
If your client struggles to write in an accessible way, or if they are too busy but still interested in the opportunity, you can always offer to ghost-write the article for them. You can then pass the finished article onto the client for any quick edits and to make sure it matches the tone.
Meet the deadline
Whether the client is writing the article themselves or if you are ghost-writing it, you must try your absolute best to get the article to the journalist by their given deadline. Missing a deadline can put the journalist in a difficult position and make you and your client appear unreliable. Communicate to your client how important it is to meet this deadline and remind them of the deadline as it approaches, if you must.
However, even the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry; situations can easily change meaning you may no longer be able to meet the deadline. When this happens, you must tell the journalist as soon as possible and come up with a solution. Enquire as to whether an extension to the deadline can be given, or if another academic can step in to meet the deadline.
A great tip for ensuring a client meets a deadline is to ask them to provide the piece before the deadline given by the journalist: if the journalist wants the piece by the 26th, ask the client to have the piece back to you by the 24th. This gives you some leeway if the client does need a little longer or if you need to make some edits to their piece.
After submitting the article to the journalist, don’t just abandon your client: keep in contact with them throughout the process. Let them know that you’ve sent it to the journalist and that you really appreciate their time and work, and also let them know when the piece is published. This will stop them feeling as though they have been used for a quick piece of coverage.
And don’t forget the journalist; follow up with them and let them know how much you appreciate the coverage and that the article looks great. Following up with clients and journalists is integral to building a good professional relationship: the journalist may just think about you again when they need another piece or comment from an academic.
Get the details, prepare the client, meet the deadline, and follow-up. If you use these easy steps then the process from pitch to publication will go smoothly and provide the journalist with an article they will be proud to publish.
Our BlueSky blog is full of advice on how to effectively establish your business school and faculty as key influential voices in the industry.