Sending out a press release can be a big step for small businesses – especially when it’s all been done in house. You’ve taken the time to research the best media outlets for your product or service, and you crafted the type of press release that will make journalists stand to attention.

So now what? Do you call and harass journalists five minutes after sending out your press release? No, but this is what you can and should do:

Evaluate your media outlets: If you submitted your press release to a number of media outlets, decide which are worth pursuing there will be at least one or two who you really want to see write something up about your business, so put these as a priority for follow up. If you have time, of course, you can contact them all.

2. Call the journalist: Let them know you have additional information to provide regarding your story, if they want to write something about your release. Don’t say that you are simply following up – journalists get loads of press releases everyday, and they will get back to you if your story is worth pursuing telling them you’re just following up the email can grate…would you like a stranger calling you up to check if you’ve done your job?

If the reporter remembers seeing your release, give them the additional information. If he doesn’t recall it, offer to send it directly to him and get the appropriate contact information.

There is a chance that you’ll be told point blank that your press release isn’t saying anything they are covering at the moment. If that’s the response you get, just politely try to find out why. You may have to send your story to someone else in their team or you can ask what types of stories he’s looking for so you can get it right next time.

If the reporter is interested, ask when the story will run or set up a time for an interview.

3. Scheduling the interview: you’ve hit the jackpot and arranged to do an interview with the journalist in your favourite publication or media outlet. This is great news, and it can be daunting and exciting…here’s what you do…

If you aren’t prepared or it’s not a good time when they call you, schedule a specific time for your interview. If you’ve arranged a time and a date, try your beat to be ready at the agreed time. Journalists work to deadlines and often have more than one type of case study set up, so you don’t want to miss the boat

Find out what the angle of the interview will be and if they have specific questions they’d like answers to. If there is something you’d really like to get across in the interview, tell him so he can bear this in mind when doing the write up.

Take a moment to think about your answers – especially if the interview will be edited or put into print. And remember, what seems like an eternity-long silence to you, is likely only a couple of seconds, so don’t go into panic mode if you stall for a brief moment.

Speak in plain English! Don’t use technical jargon that the rest of the world won’t understand if you need to ise jargon, mak sure you explain it if it’s an industry specific term.

Speak in a friendly, yet convincing manner. Hide those nerves and be sure of yourself. After all, you’re being interviewed because you are the expert.

Back up your claims with facts and give examples.

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