Most PR professionals realize that the relationships they have with media are the most important component of getting results. Journalists often say when they receive pitches from PR professionals that they know and trust they are more likely to consider the pitch and cover the story over a random cold email pitch from someone they don’t know.
How do you go about building these relationships?
As I mentioned in a previous post, it’s important to get in touch with journalists more than just when you are pitching them. Why? Think about the friend or work colleague you know that only contacts you when they need something. Self-centered right?
How about taking the time to read their work and email them when you enjoyed an article they wrote? This is a helpful way to introduce yourself to a journalist you’ve never met before also. Also, if they are active on Twitter you could start a conversation with them that way as well.
Conferences and Trade Shows are a good way to also get in touch with journalists. This can be a hectic time for them with back-to-back meetings but at least make an effort to say hello. If they can’t stop by your booth for a meeting, offer to meet them at the end of one meeting and walk them to their next meeting. Or try to grab coffee or happy hour before or after the show.
My most favorite way to connect with journalists is by doing something fun and in the outdoors. When I worked at Vail Resorts we were lucky enough to take media skiing and experience--right along with them--a great day on the slopes. Experiencing something fun together is a great way to build a relationship and even possibly friendships with some media. It doesn’t have to be skiing but you could try to plan a walk, hike, art tour, happy hour or something more fun and memorable than an email pitch or desk side meeting.
Also, when journalists are visiting your home town or destination and you are bogged down with work, remember to take the time to get out and experience something with them rather than get your busy work done. It’s easy to only see them for a quick lunch but remember the big picture, it’s not often journalists are on your turf. Spend time with them while you can, you may only have this opportunity once.
Always Think Big,