Failure is a scary word. I actually have an allergic reaction whenever I say it out loud because, like most publicists, I’m a perfectionist and for a long time FAILURE was my version of the “F” word. I forbid myself from saying it because if I actually accepted the fact that I failed, I would have an emotional breakdown and leave the office crying (true story on many occasions). Well folks, in a world where the ratio of publicists-to-journalists is 5:1, failure is a fact of life. We have to get over our perfectionist tendencies by picking ourselves up and pushing through. Sometimes in our most desperate points, we come up with the most creative of ways to make press happen for our clients.
Take my experience booking Sky Zone in the latest issue of Forbes as an example of “rising from the ashes,” so to speak. For those of you not familiar, Sky Zone is the creator of the billion dollar trampoline park industry. Because they’re the first, and the most profitable, you would think reporters would be jumping at the chance to write a feature on the brand, right? WRONG. After 6+ months of pitching the evolution story of Sky Zone and how it’s changing the trampoline park industry to at least 5-6 reporters at The New York Times, Fortune, Inc., Forbes, Fast Company, and pretty much every single other business outlet, the most exciting response I received was from one reporter who said, “Why would I want to write about this?” LOL.
I was at my whit’s end this March when I was thumbing through an issue of Forbes and came across a story on Family Video, a video rental franchise in the Midwest that still exists and is actually quite profitable. A light bulb went off in my head and I thought, “What if I pitch Sky Zone to this writer? Surely he likes nostalgia-inducing businesses, and Sky Zone is technically considered one of those because a lot of people had a trampoline in their backyard growing up.” While this thought process was somewhat of stretch, I pitched the writer anyways, and, SURPRISE, he loved it so much that I only had to follow up with him once.
Making this story come to life was probably the highlight of my career because it’s living proof that I didn’t give up after thinking I exhausted all of my contacts. Whether you’re in the business of franchise PR, or food and beverage PR, your version of this might be a bit different. That pitch you’ve been sending for what seems like your entire career might not be a fit for a writer at Forbes, but it could be the perfect story or roundup for an equally valuable outlet to your client like a key trade magazine or the major in-market daily where their corporate office is located.
So, at the end of the day, remember that it isn’t the end of the world if that one reporter at whatever A-list outlet didn’t respond. Keep trying. You’ll never know until you press that send button.