» How To Overcome Ghosting in Wedding PR

Photo by Bellagala Photography

Ghosting – the practice of ending all communication without explanation – was brought to the forefront in the last few weeks among Facebook conversations and industry podcasts.  

While not a new concept, it brings to light the question– what in the world do you do when someone goes MIA on you? This is especially the case with wedding PR related pitches– be it real wedding submissions, styled shoots or media pitches themselves.

If this your first time engaging the editor, or your millionth, it takes a bit of organization, patience and optimism to overcome ghosting.

Before even getting into the business of submissions, it’s essential to set your expectations accordingly. As I like to remind people– it used to be that the ratio of people pitching to editors/writers was 1:1, but these days, it’s closer to 8:1. Inboxes are filling at an unprecedented rate and it’s not easy to catch someone’s attention with just the one email.

Below you’ll find a few of the typical ghosting scenarios you may come across, and the best reactive steps:

Real Wedding/Styled Shoot Submissions

I get this question often from clients and colleagues– what if you submit and then you never hear back? This really does depend on the media outlet so be sure to review their guidelines for submission. Some will give a timeframe on when you can expect to hear back. Pay careful attention to those who expand on the fact that if you don’t hear back within a certain time period, you should move forward elsewhere.

It’s always best when submitting, to mark your calendars for when you can expect to hear back. Be sure to give a little wiggle room in the process. If say, for example, an editor says that they respond within 30 days, mark your calendar for 35 days and follow up if you haven’t heard anything. Aim to be equal parts kind but firm:

Hi {NAME!},

I hope this finds you well. Just wanted to follow up on my recent submission of 
{NAME} and {NAME’s} wedding. I originally submitted on {DATE} and since we’re 
past the {NUMBER} days of consideration, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to check in 
one more time. 

Happy to continue to offer exclusivity to you if the wedding/shoot is still in 
thequeue. If you’d prefer to pass on it, please let me know and I’ll move
on to the next publication. 

Thanks so much!
{NAME}

If you don’t hear back again within about a week, consider it passed on and move on. Before doing so, send along a brief, kind email to confirm your next steps:

Hi {NAME}!

Hope you’re having a great week! Just following up one more time on the 
wedding submission of {NAME} and {NAME’s} celebration from {DATE}. 
I haven’t heard back after multiple attempts so just sending a quick email
along that I’d like to respectfully withdraw the submission. 

I look forward to trying again down the road!

Thanks!
{NAME}

You’ll find, more often than not, that editors will appreciate that you took the time to close the circle on the submission.

With that being said, if you can, it’s great to work with editors that use a direct, streamlined channel for submitting, such as RealWeds.com.

HARO Pitches

For those using a third-party program, such as HARO, rest assured that things are fairly black and white. You pitch directly to the writer with their anonymous email. If it’s picked up, it’s picked up. If it’s not, it’s not. With HARO, there is no need to follow up on a pitch sent out– in fact, HARO creates the anonymous emails for journalists so it’s difficult for you to do so.

The majority of HARO journalists will respond if they liked your quotes and are considering it, but very few, from my experience, let you know if it goes live. With that in mind, when you do pitch, it doesn’t hurt to look up the writer and bookmark their author page on the site where they are writing. Better yet, be sure to set up a Talkwalker Alert on your own name so that you receive emails every time your name pops up in the media.

Media Pitches

While real wedding/styled shoot submissions typically follow along with the guidelines set aside by the editor of the site/blog/publication, this isn’t quite the case when sending along story ideas to writers/reporters and editors for publications and sites.

If you’ve pitched a story idea and have not heard back, it’s a good chance that they are either bogged down with pitches and/or they are simply not interested. My general rule of thumb is to follow up a week later only just the once and to come with additional information, or better yet– another story idea.

More often than not, the media does not love a brief “hey, did you get my article?” email. Instead, kindly follow up and perhaps send a couple of more topics that may be a fit for their publication. The goal is always to add value, not fill their inbox.

It can admittedly be frustrating when you don’t hear back from what you had hoped was an amazing pitch. Remember that members of the media are constantly being inundated with pitches so if you aren’t hearing back in general, just know that it’s a very common thing to happen. I promise it will make it that much sweeter when you do hear back.

 

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.