Getting a reporter to cover your business can be extremely difficult. Journalists are busier than ever these days, and they are constantly bombarded with story ideas from all kinds of different sources.

Don’t be discouraged if you try to connect with a reporter, but they won’t call or email back. Of course, their lack of responsiveness may have nothing to do with you or your story pitch. They might be busy. Still, you can follow some best practices to establish rapport with a journalist and hopefully get them to consider your story idea thoughtfully.

Here are five tips for connecting with journalists:

Read their previous work.

See what kind of stories the reporter has written about in the past. The more you study their previous work, the better chances you’ll have pitching a story they might find interesting. If you find one of their stories particularly enjoyable, tell them. But only share that feedback if it’s truly genuine.

Share or discuss their work online and on social media.

One of the best ways to get a journalist’s attention is by interacting with them on social media channels. More and more journalists pay close attention to the buzz that their work receives online, so reporters will see that as helpful if you can help them spread one of their stories.

Reach out on social media.

Along the same lines, you might try to make your story pitch to a reporter on social media. Again, this tactic works best if you have a solid social presence of your own. Journalists are constantly on social media, so hitting them up on Facebook or Twitter might be the best way to reach them – rather than a phone call or email.

Get involved with a community project or cause.

Most companies do some community work: an annual service day at a local soup kitchen or a beach clean-up. Pitching these kinds of stories to reporters might be better received because you’re contributing to the community, not just talking about your latest product or promotion.

Know when to pitch.

Reporters are typically very busy toward the end of their day as they rush to beat afternoon deadlines. Don’t call a reporter in the late afternoon to talk about a story pitch that’s happening in a few weeks. It’s better to reach out early as they decide what story they will cover that day.

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