You hear it all the time; build relationships with the press! And you will hear it even more because it’s so important.
You are more likely to pick up a phone number you know or open an email from a person you’ve already had a conversation with rather than a total stranger, aren’t you? And that’s exactly the same thing!
The other question is HOW to build strong relationships with the press.
- Do your research: Get to know publications and journalists you are targeting
You won’t know what journalists are interested in and what topics they cover unless you read their articles. Seeing what areas journalists are interested in will help you understand whether your content is relevant to them. Have a look at journalists’ Twitter page and read their bio, that will also tell you a lot about them. You want to go the extra mile and understand not only what the journalist covers but what the publication focuses and mainly who are their readers.
- Send your content/campaign/press releases only to relevant journalists.
You’ve done your research, now it’s time to build your relationships. It’d be difficult contacting journalists with nothing to offer, so the best way to start a conversation with someone is sharing your campaign. Whether that’s based on a visual, press release or an interactive piece, you know it’s relevant as you studied what the journalists cover, what the publication focuses on and who are their readers.
- React to journalists requests
Journalists send out requests through relevant platforms such as HARO and Twitter using #journorequest. Also, some journalists publish their requests in relevant Facebook groups. If you can help, then do so, it’s usually a quote, tip or comment that journalists need. By helping them with their articles you are, guess what, building a strong relationship.
- Keep in touch with article ideas, submit content following forward feature calendars.
Get your hands on publications forward feature calendars and see how you can help. Submit relevant article ideas, offer advice or comments. Be available when they need you and keep your deadlines!
It’s about good relationships, and once you have them, make sure you look after them – they’re fragile!