Rejection isn’t something that most of us handle well. From the time we were kids and a little boy or girl we had a crush on shot us down, we’ve never gotten used to the painful sting and disappointment of rejection. And the fact is that any kind of rejection sucks. It’s not just in love. Rejection in your business pursuits can hurt too, but I’m here to tell your right now – if you’re a PR person, it’s something you’d better get used to.
Call us gluttons for punishment, but those of us who work in PR get rejected pretty much on a daily basis. We deal with bloggers, reporters, editors, producers, and others who say no to our pitches every single day.
But here’s the thing – if you don’t learn how to handle rejection well, you’re going to burn a lot of bridges and possibly do serious harm to your brand. If you do any of the following things when a reporter rejects your pitch, things won’t go well for you:
Don’t do these things:
Send an angry reply—You cannot take it personally when a reporter declines to cover your story. This is business, not personal. The reporter probably doesn’t have anything against you. He or she just doesn’t feel like your story is the right fit at this time. Accept it and move forward. Don’t get angry and chew the reporter out. Don’t convince yourself that you’re the center of the universe and reporters should be begging for your story. Accept the rejection and go on.
Keep pushing after the reporter has said no—You’re not going to change a reporter’s mind about your story idea once they’ve said no. The only thing you’re going to do is annoy them if you keep pushing. There’s a fine line between being determined and being a total pain in the butt.
Cut ties with the reporter—Just because a reporter says no to one story idea doesn’t mean they won’t say yes to another in the future. Assuming you have a strong, targeted media list, you’ll want to keep building relationships with these reporters over time. Find out if there are other ways you can help. Make yourself a trusted source. You don’t burn bridges just because you got rejected.
Give up altogether—Sometimes, it’s feast or famine with PR. You might think you have a great story idea, and every reporter you pitch it to rejects it. That’s just how it goes sometimes. That doesn’t mean you should give up on PR altogether. You have to keep at it. Sometimes, the leaky faucet approach to PR is what yields the best results.
What are some of the things you do when a reporter rejects your pitch? Share your tips and experiences by commenting below.