You’ve finally landed that dream “Account Coordinator” position and you are super eager to put all of your education to use at your new agency. Even at the junior level, you may find yourself pitching journalists and trying to foster relationships that result in coverage for your clients.
But how can you do that? It may seem like a daunting task, but if you follow a few tried-and-true tips, you’ll find yourself putting the “relations” in “media relations” in no time.
Don’t be afraid to send an introduction email.
Once you identify key targets for your clients, reach out and introduce yourself. This could be a simple: “Hi John, my name is Jess, I recently began working with my client, XX and I know you work in that space. Perhaps we can work together on your upcoming needs.” Never underestimate good e-courtesy.
Present yourself (and your client) as a resource.
So many times, we find ourselves pitching because we need to get secure coverage for our client—but do you ever offer anything else to the reporter? When there is a story that relates to their beat, send them a note (even better if you can insert your client in there). Let them know you are there as a resource, and not just another faceless PR person who needs something.
Stay in touch.
So you secured coverage, or an interview, or interest…what now? Stay in touch! Don’t let it end there. Send them a thank-you note and keep the conversation going. Once you have struck up a relationship, follow up, pick up the phone and ask how they’re doing. Follow and interact with them on social media as much as possible. This way, when you need that coverage, they will see your name in their inbox and be more likely to open it.
Pick up the phone.
Email is great, but all the best media relations’ experts know that the best connections are made over the phone. If you’ve pitched the contact and you have inkling that it is a good angle for their beat (do your research!), then pick up the phone and give them a call. Be polite, ask them if they have a minute and go from there. Affect’s president Sandra, made a great point about phone pitching the other day: once you have them on the phone, don’t take “no” as an immediate answer; they can’t take an interview; how about a background briefing? They don’t cover product releases; how about a thought leadership pitch? Keep the conversation going and it will pay off.
Remember; this is a relationship, it needs time to grow.
Like all relationships, it will take time grow your media relationships. Keep calling your contact and following up with them. Make sure you are staying on top of what they write; stay in touch and remember they’re human, and treat them as such.
I hope these ideas for building relationships with members of the media help you, until then…we’ll be over here on the phone.
Do you have any tips or advice for young PR pros on building relationships with the media? Let us know!