Journalism is here to stay, that’s why it’s crucial to make friends with reporters. You may think I’m over exaggerating but the truth is that strong media connections can make all the difference in the PR world. These pieces of advice can help you build and maintain sound media connections.
- Do your homework. Reporters are constantly in motion. It is vital to know which publication each reporter is writing for because it is frequently changing. You also must understand a reporter’s “beat.” What field do they exclusively cover? Or do they cover a variety? This is the same with the publication they write for – knowing its focus is crucial. You wouldn’t want to pitch an article about a non-profit event to a magazine focused on automotive. Do your homework and find out what a reporter cares about.
- Personalize your pitches. Journalists are bombarded with story after story every single day. If your pitch doesn’t stand out, it will get lost among an abundance of others. The key is to make your story interesting, pitch it in a unique way and keep switching it up. Be creative and you will spark a reporter’s interest, in you and your story.
- Follow up. It’s just as important to pitch your story as it is to notify the reporter of any additional news or updates relating to it. It keeps them current and allows them to rely on you. In turn, they will begin to trust and appreciate your stories and your work. It can also be beneficial to engage with a journalist on a personal level. Ask to speak with them in person over coffee or just a quick meet and greet. Personal involvement can go a long way and help your future stories hit the newsstand.
Reporting is still highly cherished and I believe it will always be relevant. Yes, we have social media where everyone can feel empowered and control their own messaging - but there is something genuine about reporting. There is this feeling of legitimacy when someone else is talking about your company and your story that you just don’t get with social media. Forming bonds with these reporters will always impact your success in PR so don’t waste any more time. Follow these tips to make a reporter your new best friend.