I was extremely
surprised to see a post from a contributor to a prestigious
publication like Inc (the writer’s post was not on Inc but on their
personal blog) to say that contributors shouldn’t follow-up their
pitch. That if you didn’t hear from the publication, they simply
After reading that section, I thought to myself:
‘Oh, okay…I guess I’m going to have to rethink my approach now…’
Then part of me went: ‘Hold on! This is a similar
thing to accepting that there is only one way to do things!!!’
One thing I’ve learned is the danger of
assumptions. Because systems can crash (even more if the publication
is moving from one system to another) and emails can get lost.
I’m in the process of doing one now, and I’m
choosing to follow-up in a different way: by finding other areas I
can add value to the publication. One such area is getting more
contributors to pitch them stories.
One such way is to ask the person responsible for
sifting through submissions the most effective way to make sure each
(specifically for contributors who I’d be recommending to the
publication), gets through.
And speaking from the other end, I appreciate
follow-ups. Even if its just to confirm that I received their
message. Sometimes I am not able to answer as quick as I can, but I
do know is that it helps ease that nagging bit in the sender’s mind
that they didn’t do everything that they could to make it work.
“I find that email is best for everything.
It’s not worth it for a writer to leave me a voice mail. I think
most people would agree.” – Kara
That is to say the other viewpoint (if I don’t
hear from you, I’ll assume you aren’t interested) doesn’t have its
merits. It is helpful to draw a line whenever moving on to a task.
That line may be: ‘I will not think about that submission after I
press send.’. The potential upside is your mind is not distracted by
thoughts about your email to a specific contact, because you can just
remind it that you already did your part and will not action anything
until you hear back from them.
What are the most effective approaches to
following-up you’ve come across? Send me a note on Twitter!