We compared when normal responses are received with those that lead to a story. Surprisingly, we haven't yet been able to find any clear indications for the hypothesis.
Our data is still sparse on this area, so it has to be taken with a grain of salt, but we expected a more clear pattern anyway.
As we haven't found any correlation, it may be an indication that it sometimes is in fact worth waiting a little longer.
After a day the chance of getting a response is so low that you should either follow-up or move on.
However, given that the probabilities we are actually dealing with are so low (around 4.2%), you can argue that it's still worth moving on if more than 24 hours has passed. Perhaps even earlier if there are other journalists out there who could benefit the story.
If time isn't a factor or the journalist is just the perfect fit, it may make sense to wait. So really, it's a judgement call. Consider these points as guidelines to make an educated decision based on your situation and gut feel.
- Time of response didn't seem to influence the likelihood of having a story published
- After only 24 hours, your actual chance of getting a response is close to 4.2%
When Should You Follow Up?
Sometimes, it makes sense to do a follow-up as it can boost the likelihood of getting a response.
If you decide to do so, a good rule of thumb is to send follow-ups 18 hours after the initial message.
Assuming you tried to synchronize the message to the working schedule of the journalist you gain some benefits:
- You bump the message in their inbox when the chance of response is already very low.
- If you unluckily messaged close to the end of a shift or after their last inbox check they will have it first thing the next morning.
Keep in mind that no one likes to be spammed. Avoid sending more than one follow-up. You quickly become an annoyance and you risk ruining a valuable relationship.
- A good rule of thumb is to follow up after 18 hours
So how much ground did we cover?
It's clear that the likelihood of getting a response decreases surprisingly fast. As a result, waiting long periods of time for a journalist to respond is a poor strategy.
Therefore, we’ve given you a set of actions to take depending on the urgency and fit of a story, but also discussed how these should be used as an addition to your own judgement.
If you do decide to follow up, it makes sense to wait until around the 18-hour mark. This seems to be a good middle-ground between not wasting too much time while still giving the journalist a workday to look at the proposal.
If you want to check the probability of getting a response for your own message, we have built a tool you should definitely check out. Hope you find it useful and see you next time.