How Do You Create an Authentic Relationship With the Media?
Earlier this year, our PRGN partner Landis Communications tackled the topic of how PR folks might best go about creating credible relationships with the media. In the post, available here, the team adeptly shared the importance of understanding the sheer volume of people trying to connect with said media on any given day as well as listening to what, where and how (i.e. in print, online, broadcast , a combination of all) the media will be tasked to communicate their stories to the public.
They also share what I think is the most important piece of advice: no outreach until you’ve seen their stuff. Seriously, don’t pitch someone willy nilly. Watch their show. Read their stories. Listen to their work.
Building off all of the advice provided by Landis, and both here and here where I shared some general pitching tips, I also wanted to share a little of my own on how to not only build a credible relationship, but how to build an authentic relationship with a member of the media, if it is appropriate:
- Offer assistance even if it doesn’t directly benefit you, your brand or your client.
- Be transparent.
- Be a consistent voice. Don’t solely reach out to pitch a story, and then another story, and then another. Sure, pitch the story, but when it runs, acknowledge it. See something they did you like – tell them. Be a consistent name in their inbox, and be there for more than just a “wham, bam, thank you, ma’am” media hit.
- Don’t give media chores. If they are kind enough to send a link or clip of a story you worked on together, don’t immediately ask them for it in another format or for a media kit or for an estimate number of impressions. That is your job, not theirs.
- Be yourself. Presenting as too formal or informal if not you shows, even in an email.
- Don’t be on time. If you can, be early. Send materials they need before their deadline. And send them right, meaning fulfill all they asked, send hi-res images the first time, fact check everything from the client to ensure it follows the format requested, et al.
- Get out of their inbox for a beat. If appropriate, ask said media out for coffee or lunch. Actually talk versus email once in a while. It does wonders not only for the relationship, but both people’s mental health (especially after the past year-plus).
- Don’t force it. Sometimes, the vibe just isn’t there. So keep it simple. Keep it professional. Be early with deadlines and leave it at thank you.
Abbie talks more about media relationships on this week’s episode of Copper State of Mind. Give it a listen.
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