5 Tips for Building Strong Relationships with Media

As PR pros, we’re constantly working with media as we try to pitch our clients’ stories. This is tough stuff. Reporters receive dozens of pitches daily, and PR pros have to ensure what they’re pitching will stand out. But that’s a whole different topic. Besides quality pitching, having a strong relationship with a media member goes a long way. Not only do you want to provide valuable content, but you want reporters to genuinely enjoy working with you. Here are a few tips to help get yourself (and your client!) on a reporter’s good side.

Do Your Research

You’ve probably heard this one a thousand times, but it truly is that important. Reporters everywhere have made it known that they hate receiving a pitch that’s irrelevant to their beat. A recent HubSpot article reported the number one journalist pet peeve is when a PR pro hasn’t done their research before contacting media.

Fortunately, it’s easy to fix. Before you click that send button, take the extra time to do a Google search on the journalist and look at some of their work. Ensuring your content is relevant will increase the chances of the reporter considering what you have to offer and continuing to look at your future pitches. They’ll know you went the extra mile and aren’t just sending content to anyone you can find.

Respect Deadlines

Be someone the media can count on. Just like you, reporters have deadlines that need to be met. If you make a commitment and leave them hanging, they probably won’t be dying to work with you again. Make it a top priority to get the reporter what they need as soon as possible. Quick responses, clear communication and follow through will guarantee a successful working relationship. If you’re struggling to meet the reporter’s needs, be upfront about it. It’s always better to be direct than to make empty promises.

Stay in Touch

Even when you’re low in content, make sure the media knows you haven’t disappeared. It never hurts to keep in touch even when you don’t necessarily have something to offer. Adding them on LinkedIn or commenting on social posts is an easy way to keep yourself in their line of vision. Also, consider what’s coming up on your calendar. It might be too early to start pitching an idea, but it’s always good to ensure the media is aware of what’s to come. Send a quick note letting them know about an upcoming event. Staying in touch will help keep you top of mind and prove that you value the relationship.

Become a Fan

Go the extra mile. Instead of only working with the media because you need to, try to make their work something you truly appreciate. Watch the newscasts and read the articles (and not just because you’re looking for client coverage). Not only will this help you familiarize yourself with their areas of expertise, but you might find that you have a real interest in the reporting.

Plus, having extra background knowledge can come in handy. Next time you’re out at a live shot with a reporter, genuinely compliment their work on a recent story. This shows that you’re a true supporter of what they do and not just hoping they’ll cover your client.

Be a Nice Human

As simple as it might sound, be nice. Even if you’re the master of meeting deadlines, a great communicator and a hard-working PR pro, displaying a bad attitude or disingenuous personality has the potential to damage an entire relationship. It may be surprising how one negative interaction or comment can quickly change someone’s opinion of another. Even if you’re not having the best of days, make it a goal to stay kind.

Scottsdale Advertising Agency

Following these tips makes it easy to build strong relationships with the reporters. Not sure how to work with the media? Let us do it for you. Our integrated marketing agency in Scottsdale has a talented and experienced communications team ready to assist with your every communications need. Contact us today to learn more.