Building a Friendly Relationship

27 02 2012

I believe it’s important for MR people to consider journalists their allies. Here are some tips to build that friendly relationship and have them view you the same way.

 

How To Build A Successful Media Relationship – Getting Back to Basics

by Erin Smith on 01/17/2011

The most essential part of our jobs as public relations professionals is building media relationships.  Without thriving relationships with the media, we cannot successfully secure media coverage for clients – whether in TV, print, radio or social media.

The key to success for PR pros is meaningful and frequent communication with your media contacts.  It’s not just about you and what you want – relationships are a two-way street.  Keep the communication open, and the relationship will be beneficial for both.

Below are a few basic tips to help you build relationships:

  • Build a well-thought-out media list – this is the basic and most important step in trying to secure coverage for your client or business.  There are great tools to help you build media lists.  Software such as Cision or Vocus have done most of the work for you and have compiled all the contact information for the reporters. However, it is very important to know each publication and understand what they write about.  For example, you may build a list to include all pharmaceutical publications, but some publications only cover manufacturing or clinical trials.  You wouldn’t want to send a press release on pharmacy filling equipment to either of those publications.
  • Know the reporter that you are contacting and what he or she has written about.  Make sure the person to whom you are pitching is the right person for your story – if you aren’t sure, just ask.  Oftentimes a reporter will pass you along to another reporter who would be interested.
  • Don’t try to sell your product or client to the reporter.  Instead, talk to him or her about a subject that might involve your client or product.  For example, if we wanted to promote a client’s architectural expertise, we might include them in a story angle about new home architectural designs for 2011.
  • Provide reporters with everything they might need to write the story.  Have all research and supporting documents ready to send to the reporter at a moment’s notice.  Don’t make the reporter wait for you to put something together.  By the time you get your research done, the opportunity might have passed.
  • When communicating with reporters, don’t expect them to write a story for you.  Instead, work on building a relationship with them.  When you are interested in asking someone on a date, you don’t just walk right up to the person and ask him or her out (Well, maybe you do, but I know this wouldn’t work to get me on a date!). Usually you find out a person’s name and what interests that individual. Do the same here.

One of the biggest downfalls for PR professionals in our industry is having the attitude that reporters need you to do their job. The truth is that PR professionals and reporters depend on each other to produce the best product for everyone.

Image Source: Stefan

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