As any PR pro will tell you, developing media relationships can be tricky. PR and journalism professionals both live very busy lives, often facing tight deadlines, thousands of emails a week and coordinating tricky schedules. Media connections are arguably the most important aspect of the job, as it is super important to develop a relationship that is mutually beneficial for both the journalist and the PR professional. At TJA, we have a special sauce to make those relationships sweet and long-lasting. Here are 5 tips for how the TJA PR team strengthens their media connections.
1. Personalize Your Pitch
Every story pitch a PR professional sends out should be personalized to the media contact they are contacting, the publication that they work for and lead times. According to the Washington Post, addressing someone by their first name is the greatest connection to their identity and individuality.
It may be tempting, but the “spray and pray” method (where PR pros pitch the same pitch to hundreds of journalists in hopes for one to bite) is outdated and frankly, kind of rude. Journalists receive hundreds, if not thousands, of email pitches a day. When pitching, we consider why this journalist would be a good fit to tell our story. Research and personalization are key components to getting clients in the media conversation.
2. Communicate Consistently
One of the worst things you can do is leave a journalist wondering where you are with coordinating a media opportunity. Think about it: you wouldn’t leave your recent dating app match hanging, not knowing when you’ll reply. Putting in consistent communication is what’s going to get you the farthest (in PR and in online dating, LOL.)
If you expect a journalist to be timely when replying to your emails, you should have the same rules for yourself.
Another mistake PR professionals often make is communicating too much. We play by the rule of three follow-up emails to the reporter maximum, with adequate time in between each follow-up. If you send a pitch at 8 a.m. on a Friday and are following up at 8 a.m. on Monday, that journalist had only one full working day to read your pitch. Give them time!
3. Share Your Hits
If you land a media placement for your client, share that story on your personal and professional social media feeds. The article, segment or podcast episode is not just a piece of the “media.” It’s human insight on important topics that deserve to be in front of the eyes of as many people as possible. This not only helps the article that features your client reach more people, but it also helps the journalist and publication gain recognition, credibility and viewers.
Tagging the journalist, outlet and client in these posts can also add additional exposure and visibility. When you share these features, journalists will automatically recognize that you are on their side and both sides of the relationship are willing to help each other.
4. Follow and Interact On Social Media
A great way to get to know your media connections is to connect with them on social media. By doing this, the media contact sees your name more often, which will make your name stand out when pitching. You’ll also get a better glimpse into their personal and professional lives, making email personalization easier and quicker, rather than putting in extra research.
Be genuine when it comes to these connections. Telling someone that you loved their article reviewing Taylor Swift’s latest album isn’t going to work. Why do you love it, how do you relate to it and how does this relate to one of your clients?
5. Show Your Gratitude
Always express appreciation and gratitude when pitching a journalist or when a journalist picks up a story. The media has hundreds of people pitching them story ideas every single week and they chose yours! Thank them for their time in writing a piece or producing a segment! (Side note: Always make sure you thank them on behalf of your client as well!) Journalists will be more likely to cover the client again in the future if they know you both are appreciative of the opportunities.
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As experts in public relations, we pride ourselves on our extensive rolodex of strong relationships with local and national media contacts. We know first-hand the powerful results that earned media can bring to our clients.