4 Proven Ways to Build and Maintain Relationships with Journalists

relationship with journalist

4 Proven Ways to Build and Maintain Relationships with Journalists

One of the most important ways of building public relations for your startup is what PR experts call the slow-based approach that involves gradually building relationships with journalists over time. This doesn’t involve any pitch most of the time, in fact, if the pitch was to happen, it’s supposed to happen very circumstantially.

It’s also possible to say that in this case, your pitch is not the first thing that happens when you first source journalist contacts from online journalist databases like Pressfarm, a friend or an article they wrote. The pitch comes much later, and in this case it has more likelihood of being taken seriously by the reporter with whom you have made an effort to communicate with for months.

However, how possible is it to build successful PR using this slow method? Very possible. For it to work in your favour, use the 4 proven ways below, to learn how to build relationships with the fellows in the media;

1. Read and distribute a journalist’s work

This is PR 101. There is a lot of noise online. Journalists are in direct collision with this noise as they strive to get their work stand out from the noise. You can be a helper towards a particular journalist’s course. Eventually, when you consistently read and share their work, they notice you. Believe me, they do.

Someday they will reply to one of your shares saying thanks for sharing and that’s your hook to start a conversation. Just be sure to mention them on that tweet, for example, before sending the share out to your followers.

2. Interact on social media

Social media is one of the best ways to stay active with people, journalists included. They are humans, remember! It’s therefore most likely that they will tweet and be informal every other time. Your challenge is to interact with their social updates on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, etc.

If you want to be remembered by said journalist, try staying respectfully informal no matter the topic of discussion. Take care not to look pretentious. If you can consistently give them a reason to tweet you back, that’s a healthy relationship coming up right there.

3. Meet and talk

Face-to-face interactions with journalists are hard to come by but when they do and you take the chance at your social skills you never know what might come from it.

Building lasting relationships online is always a daunting task. If you can get yourself to events where journalists are, the better for you. However, this requires you to horn your person-to-person social skills which also requires practice.

4. Suggest story ideas for journalists

As you continue to interact with said journalist, you will come to learn about their most read stories or what they like to cover more. Eventually, you have an idea what stories a particular journalist will be interested in. Over time, you can continually suggest story ideas to them, especially stories that do not benefit you in any way so that you don’t look like some dishonest person trying to take advantage.

While sometimes they might not take you up on that story idea, it’s still along the path of building a great relationship that might come in handy when you eventually pitch your story to the journalist.

Let me know your experiences and suggestions for building a great relationship with journalists. What has worked or not worked for you before? Tweet us at @thepressfarm

1 Comment
  1. David H Deans
    David H Deans 4 months ago

    You said “Let me know your experiences and suggestions for building a great relationship with journalists.” — here’s my experience; when PR folks reach out to me it’s usually by unsolicited email with a pitch for a story about their product/service or a client (if they’re an agency). That outreach approach hasn’t changed much since the invention of the internet and the emergence of social media. Old habits are hard to break for the people who were schooled during the bygone era of traditional PR.

    Agreed, building relationships takes time, but asking a legacy PR person to represent your start-up is a recipe for failure, in my opinion. How do you know that a PR person is progressive and not inclined to send spam emails to Journalists? Simple, ask them about their outreach methodology and for examples of the projects that spanned across months of investment in time and effort.

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