After nearly a decade in the PR and marketing industry, I have devoted countless hours toward building relationships with media. This has never been a chore for me, rather meeting new people and building friendships with media has become one of the most fulfilling aspects of my career-to-date. I would even go so far as to say that I treat journalists similar to the way I treat my clients. I work hard to make them happy.
As brands evolve into content publishers, bloggers become targets for media outreach and fewer and fewer “traditional” media outlets exist, there may be a tendency to lose sight of some core media value. Therefore, it’s important to come back to this conversation from time to time.
Additionally, in a transforming media landscape, many PR professionals juggle numerous clients across vastly different industries—so building relationships with media is very challenging. Yet, continuing to foster these relationships is an important part of the job. And I do it for three main reasons:
And I do it for three main reasons:
1. Having an established connection can be the difference between an email that gets opened and one that is deleted
The better you know a reporter, the better you will understand what they really want. Some reporters don’t want to receive a pitch, rather a friendly conversation that helps them to come up with the idea themselves. Knowing who would appreciate a follow-up call because they are simply too busy to read every email, and whose lack of response means they are not interested, will better ensure outcomes.
2. When your connections are strong, your ability to advise your clients becomes stronger
In setting ground rules with journalists and clients before a background interview or advising your client in a crisis situation, knowing whom you can trust is critical. When I put a reporter in front of my client, I want my client to feel rest assured that this person is someone they can trust.
3. You never know where a relationship can take you
Building strong media relationships is a mutually beneficial endeavor. Your clients will certainly gain from favorable relationships you have, but so do journalists. Developing a good rapport where you each understand what the other person needs is essential to finding success in media relations, and you never know where it will lead. Be it valuable career advice, an inside tip about a publication’s reorganization or even a prospective client.
Media relations is an art, not a science. While content is critical–and becoming more so in an integrated world—spending the time to develop media relations is also an intrinsic part of the value we bring to clients, and the time to build these relationships is time well spent.
Photo courtesy of Sean McMenemy on Flickr
Connect with Melissa:
LinkedIn: Melissa Kvitko