If you are going to work as a publicist, you are going to have to get used to being rejected. You must learn quickly that no matter how well researched your media outreach list is and how strong your pitch, there is a great chance that you be either ignored or told no by journalists. While we as publicists we have learned not to take it personally, for our clients, it may not be so easy.
For clients, they don’t know the behind the scenes long email chains and constant back-and-forth with journalists, and they often want instant and unrealistic results. In order to better manage client expectations and better refine strategy and messaging, here are THREE ways to discuss rejection with clients.
1. Educate Your Client About The Current Media Landscape
Transparency is key. Always be honest with your clients and let them know that PR is a process. Securing media placements takes lots of preparation, research, strategy and sometimes just good old fashion luck. Editors are slammed with emails, calls, and meetings along with deadlines they are working on. With media outlets and titles disappearing, there are a lot more companies competing for placements. There is a chance that quotes may be taken out last minute during the final edit or some pitches won’t get responses. It comes with the job and in order to keep a strong and happy client relationship, communicating that from the start is key.
2. Provide Constructive Criticism
Sometimes editors will express why your pitch is a pass for them and in that moment you have an upper hand. You can now go back to your client with suggestions on how to avoid rejection in the future. Whether it was the photography, the price point or the brand story didn’t resonate with them, taking those notes and reworking the messaging, visuals or even the website could be the difference between securing a placement or getting passed over.
3. Let Them Know That Publicity Can Not Be Controlled
You win some you lose some. The reality of PR is that it only takes one great story to completely change the trajectory of a company. In the process of landing that great story, there will be lots of hiccups along the way. Stories get cut, editors already have their pieces completed before your submission and sometimes editors just plain change their mind. While you were hired to keep your client in the press, there is no way to guarantee that you will be able to control everything. Being transparent about that and communicating from the beginning can ensure that your client not only handles rejection better, it also makes them a lot more appreciative when you do secure them great placements.
Managing expectations and communicating public relations is a PRocess is key and will save both you and your client a lot of headaches.
Any more questions on how to prepare your clients?
Drop me a line!