How do I manage my pitches and track media outreach?

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Here is a sample of a media/pitch tracking sheet that you can apply to your own public relations campaign.
 

Outlet   Contact Name Contact Position Phone  Email Shipping Address Notes Status Next Steps Placement 
                   
                   

Let’s discuss the importance of every column and how to best utilize this chart.

Outlet Name

Be sure you keep this column organized and alphabetized for your convenience – it will make tracking updates quick and simple.  It’s suggested that you have separate tracking sheets for each medium:  Magazine, Newspaper, Television, and Online thus keeping things even more organized.  This tracking sheet is created to model a magazine tracking sheet.
 

Contact Name

Remember to double check that both the first and last name of the contact is spelled correctly.  Also, it’s a good idea to have the pronunciation of the contact in brackets next to the name if it is a tricky one.  This will be helpful for both you and your entire team as you begin the pitching process.
 

Contact Position

Is this contact the Editor-in-Chief?  An editorial assistant?  A photo editor? Accessories or apparel writer?  These are all relevant and will determine how, how often, and with what spin do you pitch this person.  It will also allow you go to back to the list in the future and see if this contact is relevant for future campaigns and pitches.  As the media world is very fluid and ever changing, be sure you always update contacts, contact information, and positions.  This shows that you are attentive and well versed in the outlet that you are working to create a relationship with.
 

Phone Number

Be sure you include the phone number at which this contact prefers to be called.  Also, just because you have their number does not mean you should be calling it regularly.  Learn how your top contacts prefer to be pitched and work with them that way to keep the relationship strong.
 

Email Address

It should go without saying that you should always be sure to update email addresses as they change, and also be careful when taking them down.  A misplaced period or dash could change who receives your email.  Also, the more you pay attention to the email addresses you are collecting, the more you will notice a pattern which will make it easier to track new contacts’ information in the future.  For instance, if you know that most producers at The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch have an email address that is:  firstname.lastname@nbcuni.com you are halfway to finding some very important information related to your campaign’s pitching.
 

Shipping Address

Always record the shipping address of the contacts you are working with.  It may not appear relevant in this email heavy world, but if all goes according to plan you could be visiting this contact for a desk side or sending samples to them for review, so it’s best to be prepared.  It’s also great to have these addresses when doing mail-outs of your newest look book, holiday cards, or editorial gifting!

Notes

How did you meet this contact – was it a referral?  If so record that information here in the Notes section.  Other important information to keep in the Notes section?  How and when this contact likes to be contacted, impressions you had when you chatted with them, or anything that may be relevant to you AND your team in the future as you never know who may be taking over your pitching as you grow your brand!
 

Status

This is the area you record where you are in regards to pitching with this client:  for instance, did you email them last week?  Chat with them over the phone?  Leave a voicemail?  Send a sample?  All of these things must be recorded in order for you to stay on top of things, stay organized, and stay on track.  There is nothing pleasant about calling a reporter with the same pitch simply because you forgot you pitched them the week before!  Always record the action that occurred with that contact, as well as the date in which you worked with it last.  If more than one person is going to be using your pitch chart it’s important you initial next to the action so it’s clear who has been communicating with that contact.
 

Follow Up

Who will be following up with this contact?  What is the next step?  In the Next Steps section you should record what is to be done now that you have pitched them (whether or not it was successful).  Perhaps you have to mail a sample in?  Follow up in a week?  Email them line sheets?  Record what is to be done, and when it is completed be sure you note that as well, and don’t forget the date!
 

Placement Date

When will this article be going to print?  When will your story air on the news?  Be sure to record everything you can about your upcoming placement so that you can be prepared for it, and share it with your company, buyers, sales team, and other media you plan on leveraging!