Strong media contacts are crucial for effective public relations and one of the most important ways of developing solid media relationships is to gradually build and nurture them over time. Here are five steps to building strong media relationships to benefit your business:
Respect their deadlines and be reliable
Reporters and journalists are always working towards deadlines and this can often be a matter of days, rather than weeks. Remember, journalists are busy people so ensure you return calls and emails promptly, always ask them when their deadlines are and treat any contact as urgent. Respecting deadlines is critical to building trust with media contacts and everyone knows that trust is one of the most important ingredients in any strong relationship.
Acknowledge and distribute their work
If the people that you want to establish relationships with are on social media – follow them. Read their latest articles, and regularly like and share them when appropriate too. Also, don’t forget to complement their work if you like it. Chances are, it will not only help them to recognise your name but also it will show them that you are interested in the articles they are publishing.
Be persistent but not irritating
Not every single press release or story idea you send will turn into the coverage you were hoping for. If your story is not being covered, don’t pester journalists with calls and emails. Remember, they will contact you if they are interested in covering your story. Limit yourself to two follow-ups and move on to the next story idea if you don’t receive a response.
Do your research
Make sure you have read their work, and not just their most recent article. Know who their audience is and what topics they like to cover. This way, you can tailor your story ideas and press releases so that they know you have approached them because your idea is relevant, and not because you have sent out a bulk email to a bunch of journalists in your local area.
Stay in touch
Just like any other relationship in life, it is important to stay in touch. Send an email once every few months, preferably with ideas for new articles. It’s important that you don’t get put off if you don’t get a response after the first couple of emails – remember, journalists get hundreds of press release emails a week, so they might just not get the chance to reply to yours.
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