In the world of public relations, maintaining a good rapport with media is essential to ensuring the success of your media pitching efforts. Because audiences view media coverage as more credible than advertising, utilizing mass media is the most beneficial outlet to garner publicity for our clients.
Media relations is defined as “the mutually beneficial relationship between journalists and PR professionals.” The keyword in this sentence is “mutual.” If you are a no-face email user popping up in a reporter’s inbox every now and then, it is less likely they will invest the time in your story – they may not even open or read your pitch. That’s why it’s important to ensure you are doing your part to be a resource and partner to the media you are pitching.
Here are a few ways I recommend engaging with media outlets and reporters:
Get out of the inbox
It’s always a good idea to put a voice with your name and email address by picking up the phone and calling your media every now and then! If it is your first time pitching a reporter, I always recommend starting with a quick phone call to introduce yourself and let them know you have a story they might be interested in before following up with the official pitch or press release via email.
Another great way to engage with your media is to actually meet them in person by dropping off client promotional items at the station or inviting them to coffee, lunch or drinks. One of our favorite things to do at Jones PR is to host a reporter in our office for coffee and take an hour to get to know them and also ask what kind of stories they like to work on, how they prefer to be pitched (phone or email), what subject lines make them open an email and more! It’s also a good time to let them know what clients your team works on. We’ve seen great results with what we’ve learned from these meetings.
Engage with them on social media
Most reporters’ performance is gauged by the number of online clicks their stories receive (displaying public interest of their stories) so help a reporter out by following them on Twitter and engaging (liking and retweeting) with their posts and stories.
Not into Twitter? Me either! I use TweetDeck to organize columns with reporters I want to engage with which makes it very easy to hop on, engage and hop off quickly! I highly recommend engaging with their posts on a regular basis but definitely make it an effort the week before you send them a pitch.
Go beyond the pitch
Don’t only reach out to media when you need something! If you follow them on social media and see that they just got promoted, married, etc., send them a quick congratulatory note. If you liked a recent article they worked on or found an event you think they might be interested in, let them know!
Be a beneficial partner and resource
I saved this for last but it is the most important step in having a good relationship with media. Be 👏🏽 a 👏🏽 good 👏🏽 partner! Every time you pitch media, you should be providing all assets needed in a nice package with a pretty bow.
Make sure you send a detailed press release with quotes, include photos and cutlines, offer interviews and provide b-roll for broadcast stations. Unfortunately, media staff is dwindling down and reporters are being inundated with more and more responsibilities as it happens. Make their job easier by going the extra step to provide all assets and it will make it that much more likely the reporter will not only run your story but remember how great it is to work with you the next time a pitch from you pops up in their email.
See how using these strategies on your next media pitch makes a difference!