Six Ways PR Experts Build Long-Lasting Media Relationships
Want to get a favorable news story about your organization in your local business journal, industry trade magazine, or national news outlet—but don’t know where to start? A good public relations agency will understand how to initiate, build and nurture relationships with reporters so that your company or organization can get featured regularly in the news.
Here are six tips that we rely on to build trust with reporters:
Identify the right media outlets for your message
The first step is to carefully identify which media outlets will be likely to have interest in your company’s story. If you have a story about a new green real estate development, for example, then identify journalists and news outlets that cover sustainability projects. The Internet makes it easier than ever to ensure that you don’t reach out to the wrong reporter and waste their time.
Brevity is key – especially for online news
Particularly when working with digital reporters, keep in mind that online articles are written for a diminished attention span. When readers consume a digital article, they can lose interest quickly, and many may never finish an article. This means that the articles are typically succinct and need a compelling lead in order to resonate. Your pitches should be written in a similar fashion—brief, with bullet points.
Be persistent, but not pushy
PR professionals know that we need to be persistent to cut through the clutter (many journalists receive hundreds of emails each day), but never too pushy. We typically send emails, with the occasional phone call, when suggesting story ideas to reporters. Follow up is essential, but when a journalist says “no” – then it’s time to politely move on.
Be aware of deadlines
Be aware of a journalist’s deadline and respect it. In today’s digital landscape, journalists are under more pressure than ever to produce stories quickly – and will expect sources to respond as soon as they reach out. Often the experts quoted in news stories are the ones that can call a reporter back immediately with an “on the record” comment. And of course, be upfront if you can’t get a reporter answers before their deadline.
Never mislead a journalist
This may seem obvious, but if you don’t know the answer to a reporter’s question, don’t make it up! Misleading a journalist can result in inaccurate reporting – which, ultimately, is a blight on the reporter’s reputation. Further, the more facts and figures you can provide about your industry, trends and projects—the better. Journalists love to cite data in their news stories.
Help a reporter when you can
A relationship with a reporter should be a two-way street. As such, when a reporter reaches out for a quote or statement about a trend in your industry, supply it without delay—even if it won’t necessarily benefit you immediately. If you are uncomfortable being quoted about a sensitive subject, you can ask to speak “on background” and provide context around an issue.
In short, taking time to form relationships with reporters will absolutely help your company earn more (and better) news coverage. This will not be an overnight process, but with a concerted effort (often alongside a leading PR firm), strong reporter relationships can be built and sustained.
About Violet PR
Whether it’s rebranding a city, drawing attention to a revitalized neighborhood, or promoting a new sustainable development, Violet PR helps clients make a difference. Through a combination of news stories, social media, and compelling content, our NJ-based boutique public relations firm helps clients attract more dollars and supporters.