We all know the saying, “It takes two to build a relationship.” It also takes dedication and attention to detail to cultivate a relationship you can depend on – whether it be with a partner, coworker or the media. Since we’re a PR firm, we’ll keep the focus on the media for this blog.
When it comes to getting a client/story some attention, having a working relationship with one journalist (a few if you’re lucky) can help increase chances of media grabs. Journalists do play favorites, and it’s easy to when they get an influx of bad pitches. From mistaking what a journalist writes about to cringe-worthy subject lines, journalists have a right to be hesitant when PR folks come knocking at their door.
Developing a relationship doesn’t necessarily mean starting a friendship — although that can happen — but rather establishing a working relationship that’s friendly and comfortable.
Research is the best way to start any media relationship because it can help the beginning stages of connection feel like one with an acquaintance rather than a searched media contact.
A few ways to get a connection going with a journalist is:
- Interact with their work on social media.
- Avoid making encounters feel transactional. Be human and show appreciation.
- Know what they like to write about and don’t attempt to stray from that.
- Showcase your personality.
- Offer information or updates related to their beat, but without any strings attached, like requesting an interview.
Much like personal relationships, we like to portray the best versions of ourselves to ensure a happy, healthy relationship. With journalists, the best version of yourself (your story) is an exclusive one. Offering exclusives can significantly improve your relationship with media personalities because it shows you trust and admire them enough to share your story with only one person/outlet.
Once the story has been pitched, client availability is another way to keep the relationship strong. When our friends constantly ask to reschedule or take hours to answer a text, our frustration grows. Imagine adding a deadline to it. When pitching a story, give several contact numbers, including day, night and weekend, to the media. The press waits for no one. Attentiveness to the media’s needs and the ability to deliver materials at a moment’s notice serve as strong relationship builders.
Building a relationship with the media is a marathon, not a sprint. Keep the conversation going even when you aren’t looking for media placement. Keep liking and sharing their posts, extending resources that could be useful to them and thanking them for their work.
Remember, giving is receiving in the world of media relations.
For more information on Xenophon’s media relations services, please visit: https://xenophonstrategies.com/services/media-relations.