10 Ways You Can Get Reporters to Love You

Want to get your press release or important story in the paper? Then don’t do what everyone does – pitch all the livelong day, and not actually speak to anyone like they exist. Instead, focus on developing a relationship with your local journalists, and you may be surprised at the results.

1. Don’t Pitch

Again, don’t pitch all the time! It’s obviously necessary once in a while, but try and keep it to the bottom of your conversation list. In fact, if you do the following things enough, they’ll probably start pitching YOU.

2. Reference Their Work

Want someone to feel important? Then talk about what drives them. For journalists, this is past stories and columns they’ve written. You don’t have to memorize every word, but rest assured a little reference to past work will make them smile…and remember your name.

3. Talk to Them Like Humans

Reporters are super busy, so don’t flood their inbox with inane banter. However, once in a while when you do talk to them, don’t just stick to business. Ask them how their kids are doing in the school play, or if that big story they were working on panned out.

4. Learn Their Schedule

Speaking of being busy, learn what times and days it’s best to talk. This includes knowing when to call and when just to email. Not only will they appreciate you took the time, you also stand a chance to actually get a hold of them when you need to.

5. Offer Your Service

This is a particularly important one. Offering to help them when they need it makes reporters’ lives much easier. This can include anything from being a source to helping find facts about your industry for a story. When the time comes to fill in a story for the paper, they’ll come to you.

6. Comment on Their Stories

Another way to help reporters get their stories noticed is to comment on their webpages (if they have one). This can create a dialogue between the two of you, and even a real rapport. If their site is relevant to your followers, share it on Facebook and Twitter.

7. Be On Call

If you’re actively helping out a reporter, remember to be on call. You’ve always expected them to answer the phone at suppertime and seven in the morning, so do the same for them. If they call on your vacation, answer the phone!

8. Write a Story For Them

Want to really get on their good side? Don’t just send in a press release for your story, go ahead and write the whole thing out for them. This way there’s a big chunk of work that’s already done, and they can hand it right over to the copy editor. Just make sure it’s not terrible, and you follow the style of their publication.

9. Speak Clearly and Concisely

When a reporter does contact you, don’t ramble on a thousand miles an hour. Make sure you know what you want to say, and say it with clarity and conciseness. Don’t give them an excuse to dump the story because they need to call you back for clarification on a few points.

10. Be Nice!

Above all, be civil and polite. You’re busy, the reporter is busy, everyone is busy. It’s no reason to be rude. Even if the person on the other end seems awfully harried, being extra calm and nice on your end usually does them in. Keep in mind the old saying about catching more flies with honey than with vinegar!

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of 7 Cheap PR Tactics for Success in Any Economy here: http://www.ereleases.com/7cheaptactics.html

Excellent Advice! This has proven successful for our team.


Great post. Glad I stopped by. I never try to engage reporters but from time to time they interview me. If it is a big publication I try to find the articles… 8 out of ten times I think I am not even included in the story… So I will take your advice.


Nice list, mostly, but I must object to #8. I have worked as a journalist for twenty plus years (in Europe, but I think the same basic rules apply in the US, too). I think that most serious journalists would have serious problems with someone else writing a story for them, unles they were in contract publishing – an entirely different line of business. I believe that quite a lot of journalists might find being presented with a ready-made story out-right rude. Also: most editors would never ever touch a story that might compromise the integrity of the news service. Journalism is a craft, a skill that improves by practice and something into which most journalists put great pride. To put it in another context: who would try to impress a carpenter with presenting him/her with something already built, suggesting the carpenter to put it off as his/her own work?


Good advice. Especially the being nice part. I have found that reporters are much more inclined to engage with you if you respect their deadlines and let them know you understand the types of stories they cover.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *