develop relationships with journalists

Tips for developing lasting relationships with journalists

I’ve always thought of those in the media as kindred spirits. But that’s because as soon as I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up the answer was “journalist.” (It may also be that I was smitten with Lois Lane’s character in the 1978 Superman movie.)

I did go on to study journalism at the graduate level and even worked for some phenomenal media institutions along the way. However, it wasn’t until I ventured into the field of public relations that I realized just how meaningful my relationships were with reporters, writers and editors. Along with realizing that having many reporters on speed dial was beneficial for my PR clients came the responsibility of protecting those relationships and continuing to nurture them authentically.

Here are a few tips that may help in creating the lasting and legitimate relationships with those in the press:

Don’t always be in publicist mode

Would you talk to your friends about work all the time? No. Don’t do the same if you want a real relationship with a journalist. Journalists can sniff out if you are being fake friendly for the sake of getting more pitches in front of them, or if you genuinely care about their day, their kids, their life outside of the media world. Just be yourself and keep it real.

Respect the deadlines

Whether it’s a blogger, broadcaster, weekly or monthly editor, it’s good to know their publications deadlines and cycles. Don’t email expecting a response during their deadline cycle.

Don’t just put pitches in their inbox

Send a note to congratulate them on any career moves or awards received to show you appreciate them for more than being a vehicle for your pitches. Even better, send a handwritten note in lieu of an email or text.

Cheers!

Journalists are always being asked to coffee by publicists but many of them just want a glass of wine after a long day of work. Suggest a cocktail or glass of wine instead of that coffee and don’t be surprised to receive a more enthusiastic response.

Take an interest in their work

Let them know you appreciate their work and that you follow what they write. It’s not about brown nosing, but if you genuinely like a piece they wrote, let them know. We all like to receive positive feedback on the work we do and know others out there are appreciating it.

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