Everyone wants to be the go-to person in their industry of expertise. One of the ways to do that is to start and continue building relationships with the media.
How do you do that?
1. Share and Engage with Their Content
Spending time reading their articles and getting to know what they like and don’t like. Favorite, retweet, and reply to their Tweets (don’t overdo it) if you truly have something to say that’s of value. That doesn’t just go for Twitter – do they have a blog? Follow it. Comment on their stories found on their publication’s website. This will not only help them recognize your name, but it shows you’re interested in what they’re writing.
2. Offer Your Resources
Making a journalist’s job easier is a surefire way to establish and build an ongoing, mutually beneficial relationship. One way to do so is offering your connections and resources (clients, employees, your network, yourself, etc.) for upcoming stories. You can do this by connecting with the media contact on LinkedIn accompanied by the resources you can offer them, or simply send an email. The difference between sending an email with the resources and value you can offer them versus the usual story pitch. And please, do not blast out 1,000 emails; do your homework and be sure who you’re reaching out to is the appropriate person you want to start this relationship with.
3. Let Your Personality Shine
Those who work in the media are people too. Don’t’ be robotic in your correspondence with them. Check them out on Twitter, compliment their work (if you truly mean it), and show some of your personality, whether it be on Twitter, email, or over the phone. The most important thing is to be genuine, because it’s pretty easy to spot someone who’s faking it.
4. Remember Your Manners
Introduce yourself. If this is the first time you’re reaching out to this media contact, let them know who you are, what brand you’re representing, and what news you plan to share with them in the future; don’t blindly pitch! A “thank you” to show gratitude for a journalist including you or your brand in a story should be done every single time. If you’ve been pitching a source and the journalist doesn’t take your offer, oh well. That’s unfortunately going to happen. The important thing is to remember they have a job to fulfill, and your resource or other pitch just may not cut it this time.
5. Be Genuine
This should be a given. Media relationships are built on trust, respect, and anticipating their needs. Always be honest. If you can’t deliver something, say so. This may seem a bit cliché, but honesty is the best policy when building and nurturing media relationships. Being genuine is perhaps the most important tip when establishing and building media relationships, because chances are your media contact will see right through your façade.
6. Know Their Lead Times
TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, and some blogs and websites have lead times that govern their operations. These timelines may vary for different types of media outlets, but if you want to get media coverage or pitch a story or article, it’s important to understand their lead times. But don’t despair with a little planning you can pitch the media with enough lead time to be quoted or appear on air, in print or online.
Part of the key to successfully pitching publications on a story, a product launch or an event is to work backwards from your event date. This way, if you were launching a product on January 1 of next year, to get mentioned or featured in a print magazine, you would have to start pitching 4 to 6 months before – in August to be safe. Planning backwards can be can be very helpful planning events and other promotional initiatives that have a firm date or event that I am building towards.
Let’s talk about online though. Lead times are different. Yes, a lot of blogs cover the print stories, however, news cycles online can change daily. If you have content that is time sensitive to what is going on in our world, in your state or city, pitch it asap … and it will help if you already have established a relationship. Once my vehicle was in a parking garage that flooded. There were no signs saying this was something that occurred and I was parking there at my own risk. There were typical signs about theft, but not flooding. I tweeted about this with the appropriate hashtag and a news organization picked it up and direct messaged me. They happened to be covering the story because it was a city garage and was a recurrent issue. Now this was not for my business I know, but it is an example of instantaneous coverage when you pay attention to what is being covered.
Here are some media lead times:
Monthly Consumer Magazine – Lead Time is four to six months
Newspaper sections vary [so best to check with the publication]
Daily Newspapers – Lead Time is one to three weeks
TV Morning Shows [National] – Lead Time is two weeks to two months
When in doubt you can look at a publication’s media kit to see when the advertising closes for a particular issue; this will clue you in to their lead times. You can always reach out to the publication and ask as well.
Parts of the above paragraph were curated from https://janetabachnick.com/media-lead-times/. We used curation from reliable sources to provide the best information that is useful.
7. Understand That Journalists Are Doing You A Favor And Their Time Is Valuable
Don’t be hurt if they don’t use an interview or publish your story and don’t harass them to do so. Editors can be a good place to start because they like you over PR peeps, but sometimes making contact with writers – especially good, friendly freelancers – can be more effective.
You should respect their time as you would an important prospective client’s. Irrelevant phone calls are a big time waster. There’s nothing more annoying than someone calling for a chat (as opposed to an urgently needed interview) in press week or when you’re racing to hit a deadline.
By all means call, but if the other person sounds harried, ask if they’re up against it and then SHUT UP.
IDEA THAT WORKS WELL
Online business journals and magazine are highly receptive to business stories of all kinds. Their lead times are not typically as long either. It’s a great idea to have an ‘open house’ or ‘event’ around a launch of a product or new line of business. Journalist/Reporters/Influencers will typically attend if they receive an invitation where they can RSVP. We recently worked with an entertainment business and their service entailed a physical activity. We invited news organizations for active ‘lunch, play and learn’ during their lunch hour. Basically “bring the office on Tuesday”. Every day that week, we had a different print/online organization during lunch to ‘lunch, play and learn’. Lead time was just scheduling and all of them within a month, wrote a story on their experience. A radio station talked about it on air the next morning. We then took the audio from the radio commentary and paired it with pictures to make a carousel ad on Facebook. It was highly effective … 16k comments on Instagram and over 3.5k coupon subscribers!
8. Use your website
Journalists use the Internet to do their research. Their dream is that they type the title of their article into Google and it spits out a finished text. Consequently, it is important to have a PR-friendly website. This means:
- A press link on the home page,
- Linked to a page containing names, emails and telephone numbers of one or more dedicated press contacts and
- Optionally, a one paragraph company overview, downloadable high resolution pictures of the product, company, key personnel etc.
- You can include an index of old press releases on this page too if you want. But the key thing is the contact details.
We hope these tips helped! Comment below if you have any questions we can address.
Parts of this article were curated and repurposed from https://www.articulatemarketing.com/blog/build-a-good-relationship-with-the-media. We used curation from reliable sources to provide the best information that is useful.
~ Margaret Croom, The Media Insider
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