Having your name published as the author of a useful article or blog post about your industry is keys to positioning yourself as an expert in your field. You get to demonstrate to readers that you know your stuff! By writing quality content for the publication or blog, you can establish yourself as a sharp and knowledgeable authority.
In order to get published, reach out to editors, bloggers, and publishers, and pitch ideas their readers will find useful. In other words, start a media outreach campaign. Keep in mind, there’s a lot of competition for influencers’ time. You’ll need a system that will help you track your pitches and their responses.
Today, I’m going to show you how to create a simple, but effective, media outreach campaign tracking system — and give you access to my free template. It will help you to stay organized. Once you’ve submitted dozens of pitches to influencers, you’ll appreciate the ability to track their progress in one place.
Why You Need To Track Your Pitches
If you’re only submitting a couple of ideas per month, you probably don’t need a tracking system. But decent media outreach campaigns will have you pitching ideas on a consistent basis. After a few months, you could potentially have 20 to 30 pitches in the field. Using a napkin or Post-It note won’t cut it.
Each idea you submit to influencers will go through various stages before it finally gets published. You need a way to monitor where each one is in its cycle. For that, you need a system.
The “Right” Way To Track Your Pitches
There is no “right” way to keep on top of your outreach campaigns. Some folks find that using a legal pad suits them. Others keep everything on a spreadsheet. The “right” way is whatever method works for you.
Having said that, you should at least consider using a spreadsheet. Anybody who knows me knows that I am cringing just typing that, but it’s the truth. Even an Excel-phobe like me will resort to a spreadsheet in times like this! Keep it on your hard drive or use our template on Google Drive. It’s your choice. The most important thing is that you have a system. Otherwise, you’ll quickly lose track of which ideas have been accepted, which ones need to be revised and resubmitted, and which influencers you need to follow up with.
Below, I’m going to take you through some of the details you’ll want to include on your “pitch tracker.” How you organize them is entirely up to you (do what works for you!).
Publication Name / Website
I strongly recommend putting this item in the first column of your sheet. That way, you can list the publications and websites alphabetically and quickly find the information you need.
Editor’s / Blogger’s Contact Details
In most cases, you’ll have a single point of contact at the magazine, trade journal, or blog. List that person’s name and contact details on your tracking sheet. Include his or her phone number and email address. Make a note of the state in which the person lives so you’ll know the time zone.
It’s also a good idea to include his or her title. Is your contact the publication’s feature editor? Or is she the owner of the blog you’re pitching? Make a note of it.
Date You Pitched Your Idea
You want to list the date on which you submitted your idea to the publication or site. That way, you’ll know when you need to follow-up with your contact.
Editors and blog owners are extremely busy. Many of them receive hundreds of pitches each month. Don’t be discouraged if your contact fails to respond promptly to your idea.
Give the individual a week. If you haven’t heard back from him or her, send a brief email reminding the person of your pitch. Forward your original query or copy/paste it into your follow-up.
Make a note of the date on your tracker.
Date Of The Influencer’s Response
When you get a response from your contact, whether it comes after your initial pitch or a follow-up, make a note of the date on your tracking sheet.
Influencer’s Response To Your Pitch
The editor, journalist, or blog owner will either accept your idea, reject it, or ask for more details. List the response on your sheet.
If your pitch is accepted, your contact will assign the piece to you and give you a deadline. Make a note of the deadline on your tracker. That way, you’ll be able to find it easily if it slips your mind.
Date Your Material Is Submitted
Of all the details we’ve covered so far, this is probably among the least important. The point of your tracking spreadsheet is to monitor your pitches. Once your pitch has been accepted and the article or blog post has been assigned to you, the gig is yours. It’s time to celebrate!
Having said that, it’s useful to keep track of when you deliver the final product to your contact. Doing so will help you to keep on top of the gigs you’ve been given. The bigger your media outreach campaign, the more pieces you’ll be writing. Trust me, without a system in place, it can get very confusing.
Date Your Material Is Published
You invested considerable time and effort to reach this point: your article or blog post is finally published. Hopefully, thousands of people will read your material and visit your site. Some of them will want to hire you for your expertise. Others will want to buy your products.
Note the date that your article or blog post was published on your tracking sheet. If you’re using Excel or Google Drive, fill in the cell with a color that stands out. That will help you to quickly identify the pitches that bore fruit.
As you pitch more ideas and work with more influencers, you’ll learn who you most enjoy working with and where you stand the best chance of getting exposure. Your tracking sheet will prove to be an essential tool. You’ll be able to identify the editors who rarely respond to your queries and those who seem to love every idea you pitch. In short, you’ll save loads of time.
Media outreach can give you a level of visibility that’s hard to achieve in any other way. It’s one of the keys to positioning yourself as an expert in your industry.
Free Media Tracking Template
To make things super easy, we’ve created a free template for media tracking, you can download it free and use it as you wish! Just click on the link and download the spreadsheet to get started.
Do you use a system to track the pitches you submit to editors? Are you including any details on your spreadsheet that I didn’t list above? Let’s learn from each other’s tracking systems! Share your thoughts by leaving us a comment below!