It’s Valentine’s Day. How does that relate to PR, you ask? It’s about showing some love for reporters. Much has been written about the strained relationship between reporters and PR practitioners, so the question is: How can we show reporters we love them and, in turn, help them fall in love with us? Here are some ways to make them feel special: 1. Offer “gifts.” This could include offering additional resources for a story such a customer or partner reference, a link to video explaining the new technology you’re pitching, a company logo or compelling image, an infographic, results from a survey with data to back up your pitch, and so on. This makes it easier for them to do a story. After all, isn’t a big part of our job making life easier for reporters? 2. Don’t keep them waiting. When they ask for something, be ready to send it as soon as possible. Don’t make them wait three days for a photo or customer reference. Think and prepare ahead to be ready with whatever they may ask for. They’ll appreciate it and be more likely to turn to you in the future. 3. Get to know them on a deeper level. Do some research to see the kinds of stories they write and the topics they cover. If you do this prior to pitching them, it will help you craft a better message and maybe even stand out in their crowded mailbox. 4. Use email to connect with them. According to a recent poll, reporters prefer to be pitched via email vs. social media. So, why not go with that instead of trying to write your pitch in 140 characters? 5. Be courteous. If they do respond to your pitch, thank them for their time and interest. Take note of what stood out in that pitch. Maybe it was a great subject line or perhaps it was simply good timing. That way, you can incorporate it into your next effort. 6. Don’t pester them. Yes, it’s OK to send a follow-up email, perhaps a few days or a week after your initial message, but should you pepper them with multiple emails, calls ,and social media messages? No—unless you want to ensure they never cover your company or client. 7. Work on building the relationship. On Valentine’s Day, what better way to show love for a reporter than to try to build a better relationship with him or her? If you make yourself a valuable resource for reporters, they’re more likely to turn to you in the future when they’re looking for help with another story. 8. Remember that you’re not their only valentine. Reporters receive many pitches each day. Sometimes, a story isn’t going to happen, no matter how hard you try. You’re competing for their time and attention. You win some, and you will inevitably lose some. 9. Be lovable. Showing respect for a reporter’s busy schedule and deadlines, thanking them for their time (whether or not they do the story), and keeping in touch all go a long way toward making them fall in love with you.
If you can incorporate some of these tips into your day-to-day media relations, you’re sure to have a love affair with reporters that lasts long after Valentine’s Day. Michelle Garrett is a PR consultant and writer at Garrett Public Relations. Follow her on Twitter @PRisUs or connect with her on LinkedIn.