The end goal of any public relations strategy is to obtain media attention for your company. However, creating and fostering relationships with media members is one of the essential parts of reaching that goal. Regardless of the size of your business, PR is a necessary tool for getting the word out there.
How to build a relationship with journalists
During the PR process, it’s natural for brands and journalists to interact regularly. By building and maintaining a healthy relationship with journalists, you can gain the media coverage you need. As an entrepreneur, you play a vital role in providing journalists with complete information like key sources, statistics, and graphics. For this reason, it shouldn’t be too difficult to build relationships with them.
While there are various methods to start a media relationship, some companies find it difficult to get media coverage. This is because they blindly pitch a story without proper research instead of making an effort to build relationships first.
Any relationship with a journalist starts with a pitch. The pitch needs to be tailored to the target journalist’s interest for a message to get picked up. It is essential to spend time trying to create the perfect pitch that is not only engaging but also concise.
1) Build a media list
Before sending out the initial media pitch, you need to figure out what kind of audience you are interested in reaching. Creating buyer personas can help you identify influencers and relevant media to pitch to so that you can develop a relationship. A list with highly focused targets is essential if you want to build a more personal connection and communicate more effectively with the journalists and media outlets on the shortlist.
Creating a media list can be time-consuming and stressful, which is why PR agencies like Pressfarm provide brands like yours with a PR database with over 1 million journalists and media outlets so that you can filter through to find their perfect media match. If you’d much rather have someone else build your media list for you, we can do that too. Simply sign up for one of our affordable packages and start connecting with the best journalists in your niche today.
2) Know everything there is to know
Once the list has been created, it is time to start connecting with journalists and media outlets. You have a higher chance of obtaining media coverage when you understand the journalists before pitching a story. Going into the conversation knowing not only your story and your philosophy, but also what the journalist is interested in gives you a leg up when trying to connect. You can get this information by finding past content the journalist may have created. Alternatively you can ask a direct question about the journalist’s plans. While they are most likely not going to reveal all their secrets, they will share some ideas and they’d probably like to get opinions, advice, or ideas from a third party.
3) Offering resources and engaging content
Rather than just following a journalist on social media and replying to their posts every once in a while, you should spend time reading their articles to understand their writing style. Another way to have a great relationship with a journalist is to make their job easier. If you have resources that will help the journalist write their story better, then you should offer your connections and resources.
4) Be yourself
Much like every other type of relationship, a media relationship is built on trust and mutual respect. You need to be completely upfront and honest with journalists from the beginning if you want to earn their trust. A journalist’s job is to help get the word out there about topics, but they are also very good at research. Honesty is the best policy here because one way or another, a journalist will get all the information they need about you and your brand.
5) Keep things professional
Having a pitch and press release that are riddled with grammatical errors and need constant editing will turn anyone off. This is especially the case for journalists, whose job it is to create quality content. They barely have enough time as it is; they will not appreciate having to waste their time reading a pitch that has many mistakes.
6) Understand that journalists are doing you a favor
Journalists know that they have the power to make or break your company’s media coverage. To an extent, that is entirely accurate, and they are most likely to move on to another source if they feel like they are getting taken advantage of or their time is being wasted. While that may seem a bit narcissistic, that is just the nature of their job. After all, they are getting hundreds of emails daily, and they need to sift through everything to find the right story for their publications and target audience.
For this reason, you should respect a journalist’s time just like you would with a prospective client. The journalist is probably on a deadline, so wasting their time by continually calling and emailing will only annoy them.
7) Do proper follow up
In addition to sending a pitch at the best time, sending out a follow-up email is an important step. Just remember that there is a fine line between being persistent and being annoying. Sending out too many or emails that aren’t relevant will cause journalists to either ignore or move the email to spam, rendering your outreach efforts (both current and future) futile.
However, it is essential not to be discouraged if your story does not get picked up. This could be a result of many different things. It is possible that the timing just wasn’t right for the story, or the journalist wasn’t interested in writing the story. You need to know is that it happens; not all companies can achieve media coverage from the get-go.
If that is the case, all you need to do is go back to the drawing board and figure out another story angle that might interest the journalist a bit more. Additionally, it is not smart to put all your eggs in one basket. Just because one journalist decides to pass on a story, it does not mean that another will. You can send your pitch to other journalists and media outlets in the industry. If you get stumped on creating a new pitch that will receive media coverage. You can hire PR professionals like Pressfarm who can help with all your PR needs.
Tips for maintaining media relations
The start of a media relationship can be stressful, but maintaining it is even more critical. A long term media relationship is valuable because a company can earn a journalist’s trust over a period of time, which means that the journalist will pay attention to what your company has to say.
Most tips to maintain a relationship are very similar to what you need to do to initiate a relationship. Other things that could be key are:
1) Keeping your media list updated
You probably already have your media list from the beginning of your media outreach strategy, but media contacts are always changing. For this reason, you need to stay updated on whether reporters have been shifted to new assignments, moved on to new jobs, and more.
2) Be available when needed
A good relationship is one that works both ways. While your company needs a journalist to get the word out there about their announcement. Journalists may also require the company for another story, or for some advice regarding the story angle. If your relationship with a journalist is at this point, it is excellent for both because it means that there is an adequate level of trust between the company and media.
3) Know about the news
For your company to succeed, you need to have a stable relationship with the media and know what is going on around you in your industry. By knowing what is going on in the news, you can establish your brand as an authority in the field. You can use your research to form story angles that are different from the competition.
Failing to build a mutually beneficial relationship with the media can truly hurt your company because you will find it extremely challenging to get media coverage. It does not matter how great your company is if no one knows about you. As such, it’s important to start developing relationships with the media. Nevertheless, if you need some help, you can always turn to PR professionals like Pressfarm to help you with all your public relations needs.