How to Build Positive Relationships With the Media

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The worldwide public relations market is expected to register an annual compound growth rate of 10.2% in 2021. The massive growth comes as businesses strive to recover from the COVID-19 effect. And there is no better way to reach the public than through media relationships.

Business owners now realize the numerous benefits of media relations to boost brand awareness. Positive media coverage is likely to offer higher credibility than paid ads.

Moreover, having good media relations gives the benefit of third-party endorsements, not to forget that it increases social media traffic. But how do you build and maintain positive media relationships?

Check out these tips on how to foster a beneficial relationship with journalists and media.

Identify the Ideal Reporters and Create a Contact List

Before embarking on your journey to building strong media relationships, make a hit list of the journalists you wish to reach out to. Your story will not appeal to all reporters. The best journalists to contact are ones that cover topics about your industry or are relevant to your business.

Identifying the ideal journalists will save your time. It ensures that you only pitch your story to reporters with high chances of being interested. Go for bloggers or reporters who focus on your business size, sector, or city.

When identifying the ideal journalists to contact, you should first know your target audience. Do you wish to reach the public at large, your customers, or your peers? With this, you can quickly work out the best media to help you reach your target audience.

Invest your time to browse through journalists’ websites and social media pages to collect their contact. You can simply check the contact us page on the media personalities’ websites to collect emails.

You can then reach the media reporters via email, or if you have the time and capacity, book a face-to-face appointment. Be ready to answer critical questions such as what your business does and why you want media coverage in your pitch.

Most importantly, learn how to write a press release and customize your message to suit every report’s personality to increase the chances of getting a response.

Interact With the Journalists’ Work

It would be disrespectful to go directly to a reporter to ask for story coverage without appreciating what they are already doing. A simple follow on social media goes a long way. You should then like, comment, and even share their posts for recognition.

For instance, most media reporters are active on Twitter. You can retweet their tweets to show that their values align with yours. Read their articles to understand what they like and dislike.

Engaging with media personalities’ content will help them recognize you and show that you are interested in their work. In return, they are likely to reach out to you or respond to your messages instantly.

Keep Your Pitch Clear and Straight to the Point

You don’t have to write a lengthy press release to reach media reporters. You should strive to create a polished elevator pitch to capture the attention of media professionals.

The elevator pitch should be short but deep enough to explain your business. The more specific you are, the better. Furthermore, it is critical to understand the story you want to share and how it lines up with the larger media while maintaining a unique storyline.

Note that the media pitch is your gateway to getting media coverage. If it is not intriguing enough, your chances of getting an editor or journalist interested in your news are almost zero. Therefore, check out the tips for writing and polishing a media pitch before rushing to write one.

A pitch is, in most cases, sent via email. But if you can, you may send it via social media platforms or contact the media outlet via telephone. Whichever way, make sure you go straight to the point.

Build a Relationship Beyond Salesmanship

There is a fun life beyond story coverage. One of the tips to build positive media relationships is to have a cordial personal relationship with the media personalities.

Your interactions should not always feel transactional. Do not approach every reporter as if you are looking for a sales opportunity. Sure, you might get several story coverages. But the relationships you make will not deliver quality stories with consistency.

It would help if you collaborated with media reporters to create unique stories to maximize conversions. This is only achievable if you are willing to open up about other aspects other than marketing and sales benefits.

Show you care by asking about their lives rather than always talking about the stories they are working on. You could even invite them for coffee as you catch up and share ideas. Call them or send personal messages that do not sound too salesy.

Salesmanship is crucial in public relations. But it should not be the centerpiece of every communication.

Offer Media Exclusives

Securing coverage for your business or client is becoming harder every day. The reason being, journalists receive hundreds of pitches from public relations pros. Moreover, social media has propelled busier news cycles, making it hard to secure coverage if your story is not relevant to the trending stories.

Journalists are also wary of fake news and are afraid to cover one-sided stories. To increase your chances of securing coverage and build better media relationships, you must be willing to follow the least followed route. And you cannot go wrong by offering exclusives.

The common and most effective form of media exclusive is where you let a journalist be the first to publish your story before making it accessible to other sources. Ideally, you ensure that your story is only covered by one reporter or media outlet.

If strategized well, an exclusive will boost your news or story. It is also your ticket to receiving all the coverage you need for your small business by one source.

Offering exclusives can significantly improve your relationship with media personalities. It makes them feel honored to be the only outlet covering your story. It takes trust and admiration to share your story with only one media outlet while leaving others out.

Be Yourself and Showcase Your Personality

There is no better person to do PR for your organization than you. You understand the needs of your company better than your marketing managers. And editors will appreciate connecting with you to avoid time wastage.

Journalists are humans. They have feelings and expect you to do the same. Don’t be robotic throughout your collaboration. Check them out on social media, leave a compliment and showcase your personality.

For instance, if you have a sense of humor, you can leave witty comments on their posts. Ensure they are genuine compliments as it is easy to identify when someone is faking it.

Furthermore, it would be best to prepare for a press interview to comprehensively respond to questions and share a coverable story. This is a perfect time to put your business in the spotlight, so you must be cautious with words.

Journalists have a soft spot for small and upcoming businesses. They are likely to treat you better if you open up and showcase your personality.

You can nurture this through social connections with the media outlet and peppering in personal comments on their posts. Make the reporters feel that you are easy to connect with. You are respectful and mindful of other people’s feelings.

You should know that the journalists are more like doing you a favor by agreeing to cover your story. They have hundreds of pitches sent to them, but they chose you. Consequently, you must show appreciation and stay humble.

Share Your Resources

The most outstanding media relationships advice is to help journalists do their work faster and better. By this, it does not mean that you should send an irrelevant pitch to ease their story coverage.

Instead, it would help if you were willing to avail your resources to ease their burden. For example, as a PR manager, you could offer your employer, network, or even yourself to help the reporters with stories.

You can provide the journalists with connections on Linkedin or share a subject-matter expert to help with interviews. Your interaction with the reporters should not always be about you pitching PR stories. Sometimes, react to the needs of the journalist to show that you care.

Stay in Touch To Cultivate the Media Relationships

The end of story coverage should not mark the end of your communication. The key to building positive media relationships is to stay in touch with the reporters. This will create an easy pathway the next time you need them to publish your story.

Again, be mindful of their time. Journalists are busy individuals. Staying in touch does not mean blowing up their phones with calls and messages, claiming that you are checking on them. Maintain professionalism while ensuring that you remain in their mind.

Maintain a Good Brand Image With Positive Media Relations

Media has a significant impact on how people perceive your brand. If you treat journalists well and build strong media relationships, they are likely to return the favor.

The above guide to positive media relationships will help you connect with the right journalists to help you push your business to the top.

Contact us for more tips to build media relationships and how to spot the best news outlets.

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