One of the most stressful parts of being a PR professional is waiting for a big hit to, well hit. After all the legwork, the research, the pitching, the back-and-forths with the reporter, the interviews, the updates to the client contacts, and the other countless actions that can span out over several months, the last thing to do is to wait and scan for the coverage. Surprisingly, this part of the process is much more difficult than actually setting up the interviews, preparing the briefing materials, coordinating site visits, and everything else that goes into this process. As you might be able to tell from the tone of this post and the strangely specific list of tasks I outlined, I’m waiting for a big hit.
Of course, I’ve checked in with the reporter to see if he knows when the article will run, but he’s on to bigger and better things. By constantly checking in with him, I run the risk of crossing the fine line between persistent PR professional to annoying flack that puts his expected coverage in jeopardy. So I send a short, polite email to the reporter once a week or so to see if he has any updates. He always gets back to me to let me know that the article should run soon, but that he’s not sure when, and I continue to scan.
I certainly don’t blame the reporter – it’s not his fault. He wants to see the article run, too. He did a lot of work to get it written and he doesn’t want to see his work go to waste. (I’m fairly certain he wouldn’t mind not receiving my weekly check-in email, too.) Now that I think about it, I suppose I never really considered the article through his eyes. He spent a good number of hours interviewing, researching and traveling, in an effort to put together the piece. I didn’t have to travel anywhere. I didn’t call my client’s competitors or customers, or any industry analysts for their insights.
Still, I’d feel a lot better if the article just ran, and was as positive as the reporter has assured me (please, find some wood and knock on it for me). But for now, all I can do is wait, and the wait is killing me.