Silent treatment: How to deal with silence or rejection from the press

Silent treatment: How to deal with silence or rejection from the press

When it comes to press outreach, the fear of rejection can stop us from making progress. Yes, it takes confidence to ‘put yourself out there’ and worrying about hearing the word ‘no’ is completely valid.

But rejection is part of everyday life, and doesn’t reflect our competence as business owners. If you aren’t getting positive replies from journalists here’s how to move forward:

Review your request

One of the main reasons that journalists don’t reply is because the purpose of your email is unclear. When writing your pitch think like the journalist: Why is your email relevant now? Is it clear what your business does? What are you asking for? Remember their inbox is busy and you want to stand out for the right reasons. Make sure you pay attention to details like the spelling of their name. Plus always personalise your email to fit the target audience of the publication.

Take action and follow-up

The fear of silence or rejection when pitching to the press might leave you stuck taking no action at all. Let me encourage you – whilst securing press coverage takes time, all you need is one or two hits to get the ball rolling. Take action now and send that pitch email. Wait for a few days, then follow up with a polite reminder email. One reminder email is enough – nobody wants spam! If you don’t get a reply, move on and send your pitch elsewhere.

Be visible in search

Your goal with your PR outreach is to be visible in the journalists inbox. When they are working on a feature they search their own inbox before going elsewhere. This means they search their inbox for keywords (‘candles’ or ‘notebooks’ or ‘photographers’). Then review the results and select the businesses they want to feature. That’s why it’s important to include what your business does in the subject line of your email.

Stay in touch

If your pitch is relevant for their publication or programme then they are likely to respond. A reply might arrive months after sending it because the pitch is now relevant. When putting together a feature, they tend to include brands who are at the forefront of their mind. So stay in touch with journalists who write about topics that are relevant for your business. The best way to do this is by engaging with them on social media.

Take easy wins

Secure an easy win with media outlets that have already been in touch with you. Or contact local publications who are looking for content. Identify scenarios where you’re more likely to receive a ‘yes’. This will boost your confidence and prove you are on the right path. Don’t forget to check out #journorequest on Twitter – the hashtag used by journalists and bloggers to ask for help with current features. It’s a handy way to get your business in front of journalists in real time.


It’s very easy to get disappointed with a lack of responses and think this means people don’t like your brand. Let me reassure you that this is not the case. When I worked as a freelance journalist, I pitched to editors every week. So I understand the pitching process and – guess what – I got ignored from time to time. But I didn’t worry because I know it wasn’t personal, and when the right time came I was on their contacts list. Remember pitching is not about you. It’s about making a journalists life easier. If your pitch appeals to their audience, then they will be in touch. That’s why it’s so important to be consistent with your PR outreach.

Find out more about contacting the press in The Small Business PR Club, the membership for business owners who want to do their own PR.