For professionals who work in Public Relations, dealing with the media is an integral part of the job. But interacting with reporters and editors can sometimes be challenging. Below are some ideas on how to develop a good working relationship with the media:
Make sure your contacts are relevant
Journalists are flooded with email and phone calls. So when you reach out to a reporter, make sure you’ve done your homework. Do you think they’d be interested in hearing about your client and the story idea you’re going to share? What have they written about in the past? What is the background of the reporter and the publication? If you know the answers to these questions before you call or email, your likelihood of success increases because your efforts can be more focused.
Interact on social media
Follow as many reporters and editors as you can on social media sites. Stay up to speed on what they’re writing, and share recent posts if you think they’re good. All of this can help you better understand the reporter’s interests, and you may stumble across the perfect opportunity to engage with them and get their attention for a story. However, you should always maintain a casual tone on social media. It’s typically not the right platform to use for severe pitches and more professional conversations.
Journalists are typically very active and amiable people. It’s probably one of the reasons why they chose a fast-paced career that involves any daily interactions with people. If you’re trying to get a journalist’s attention, an email may not cut it. Try to schedule a time to visit their office or meet for a quick coffee nearby. Your meetings can be brief — even as short as 30 minutes—just enough time to meet and establish a professional connection.
Remember, relationships go two ways.
When you first interact with a reporter or an editor, you may have a story idea that involves a client. But the reporters will sometimes need something from you. Perhaps the journalist will contact you because they’re looking for someone to comment on another story they’re working on. Or they may want your help getting background information on a particular industry. If you can, you should help them out.
Tucker/Hall works with the media to help our clients every day. To learn more about our media relations efforts and more, contact us.