One of the more empowering moments for a public relations/marketing practitioner is when you secure that very first media “hit.” Maybe, to some, this moment may not be as exciting as their very first hit in a tee-ball game, but nonetheless, getting the first hit – a media hit – is an exhilarating moment in a young marketing executive’s career. It’s an inflection point when the rookie breaks through the editorial wall and provides a journalist with a thought-out, convincing and, most importantly, relevant pitch about a client’s thoughts or products and creates real news.
In a media-centric world, securing a client’s name, thoughts or products in an article is the start of a cycle that will not only positively impact the young professional’s image, but also reflect well on his or her organization, as a whole. Media relations, at times, can turn into a chess game, where, in order to declare “check mate,” you must keep your clients relevant. While staying on-point with breaking news and trends is important to maintaining media relations success, cultivating relationships with media personnel is also of critical importance.
After receiving that first media hit, a relationship will start to form between the novice and the media target. This is important because the media dictates the success of the “campaign” in the form of ink or, nowadays, a Google news alert. As the connection is further established, it is important to keep in mind that the end-goal is to foster a relationship between the media and your client—turning your client into a reliable, knowledgeable and, most importantly, credible source for that journalist’s future coverage.
There are always different ways to pitch a journalist and, while most professionals have their own style, here are a few tips to use when bridging the gap between your clients and the media:
Journalists will always be appreciative of and remember a source who was able to jump on a time-sensitive situation and provide a source with knowledgeable insight into his or her specified topic.
Prepare & Be Aware
Providing your client with as much information as the World Wide Web offers on the journalist and his or her publication will help the flow of conversation and prepare the client for the interview. Mentioning the journalist’s take on a recent industry trend article will show respect for and interest in the reporter’s craft.
Nobody Likes a Stranger
Journalists, more than most believe, appreciate when a past source checks in on upcoming assignments, as well as provides an update for any activity in the industry and at the company. A simple note every few months does not take much time and can go a long way in establishing a long-standing relationship with a journalist.
Connecting the media with a reliable, fascinating and serviceable source will prove to be beneficial not only for the company and the marketing professional, but also the media target. After a positive interaction, reporters often remember sources and will be more likely to revert back to them when a relevant assignment arises.
Although there is a great deal of time and effort put into crafting pitches, compiling media lists and pitching the media, once you receive that first hit and establish that first relationship, the “hits” might just turn into “home runs!”
What strategies are you using to bridge the gap between clients and the media? We’d love to hear from you.
Photo Credit: Jon S, Flickr.