written by MO.com Subject Matter Resource Ann Baker
The following scenario is as common in the PR game as juice boxes at soccer practice. If it hasn’t happened to you already, it will.
It’s finally come to pass – the perfect publicity opportunity has arrived. It is the precise size and shape of your best possible pitch, and you know exactly what you’re going to say and how. It will be witty, concise, on topic, and charming. It’s as if the journalist hand tailored his request for your business and your business alone, and the deadline is… yesterday at 3pm.
Now, after you’ve shouted an expletive or two, you have two possible courses of action: one, let it go. You missed it and that’s a shame but a deadline’s a deadline and you blew it fair and square – better luck next time. Or…
You start to rationalize: Hey, you’re a busy business person handling your own publicity in-house, not some fast talking PR professional lounging in a cushie office, languidly checking HARO/ProfNet between high quality espressos and sessions of personal assistant abuse!! What’s a little deadline when the pitch will be so perfect. Right!?
WRONG. Don’t be that guy! As seductive as it is, as easy as it seems, as short and sweet as you know your pitch would be, it will do far more harm than good – or no good at all – to send a pitch after a deadline.
Think of it this way – you’re a journalist who’s posted an opportunity. You’ve gotten a deluge of responses and you’ve picked the best three or four from the first fifty or so you received. You’re most of the way through your article and now, a full twenty-four hours after you began this whole process, some guy is clogging up your inbox with a “Gee I’m sorry this is past your deadline but…” type of response. Now, instead of reading relevant emails pertaining to the myriad other demands on your time, you have to take a few minutes out of every couple hours to delete these annoying little distractions.
You do NOT want one of those emails to be from you.
Sometimes this problem gets so bad that reporters are forced to go back to the forum where they originally posted their request and post a “Full Stop,” even after the official deadline has passed. This is the journalist’s way of saying “Please, I beg of you, enough already.”
Again, you do not want to be part of the reason for that post.
The bottom line is this – journalists are all about today, as in right now. It’s just simply bad form to send in a response after the deadline. If you miss one, let it lie. And if you’re responding to something on HARO after deadline, the joke will be on you, because HARO’s system will bounce your after-deadline pitch back to you, making your work truly all for naught.