PRo Tips: Building Meaningful Media Relationships

Successfully securing media opportunities requires delivering value to the reporter, the reporter’s audience and the outlet – which ultimately helps public relations professionals provide value to clients.

Learning how to target reporters and cultivate media relationships can result in a powerful arsenal of media contacts that you can leverage for years to come. The following tips from The Bliss Group’s Media Specialist Team explain how to craft meaningful relationships with reporters.

Be a Person First and a PR Professional Second

Building and nurturing relationships with the media can be thought of as an art that requires an individual touch. Keep these best practices in mind the next time you want to become friendly with a new reporter.

  • Do your homework: Understand what they are writing and compliment their work. Everyone loves praise and explaining the impact their work had on you can go a long way.
  • Don’t just become transactional: If you are only reaching out when you have a pitch, they’ll only see you as a PR professional, which doesn’t help with building a relationship. Invite them to coffee, drinks or a one-on-one meeting. Going the extra mile to ask a reporter to connect lets them know that that you genuinely care about getting to know them as a person.
  • Turn a decline into an opportunity: There are ways to turn lemons into lemonade in the PR world when a reporter declines your pitch without any further context. When this occurs, try to respond by asking what they are currently working on or offer additional angles the client can speak to that may be a better fit for what’s on their radar.

Add Personal Touches to Pitches

To make sure your pitch is the right fit for the reporter, start by doing research on what they are writing about. Then open your pitch with a greeting or a personal comment that acknowledges something from a recent story or an additive that you saw on the reporter’s social media page. This bit of personalization recognizes the reporter as a human and can help to build the beginning stages of a working relationship. Tailoring each pitch to individual reporters is incredibly important and gives you the best chance at having a reporter respond to your pitch with interest.

Your subject line is the first thing journalists see, so it needs to be attention-grabbing and relevant yet personal enough to let them know you haven’t sent the same one to a hundred other reporters. Remember that reporters are busy, so make sure that your pitch is concise and clearly communicates the key elements of your story without overwhelming them with unnecessary details.

Offer Multiple Engagement Opportunities

Increase your chances of pitching successfully by offering an array of interview options that can better align with their schedule. While this can help to secure opportunities for more than one client, it can also position you as a trusted go-to for a reporter.

If it’s not a good time for the reporter to hop on the phone for a live discussion, offer different options that may work better with their schedule such as sharing written commentary instead of joining a call.

Media relations is one of the most important tools in a PR pro’s arsenal and building genuine connections with reporters is central to it. Take the extra few minutes to connect with reporters on a personal level and watch it result in a valuable working relationship.

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