Good old face-to-face interaction with journalists is one of the most important elements that PR consultants can offer a client if they want to be
successful at pitching corporate stories to media.
Journalists are key public stakeholders in your communications plan, so build rapport with them.
Before I joined the corporate world, I was a TV journalist and received many pitches from PR professionals. Respectful communications associates called me
in the morning before I was assigned or working on a story. Amateur PR pros annoyingly called while I was in the middle of deadlines and filing my stories.
Those names went on a “don’t pick up” list.
I kept a contact list of media relations officials who took time out of their day to invest in me. We went for coffee or drinks, or they invited me to cool
events that would pique my interest.
They knew me, and I got to know them—which meant if they had a pitch, I was ready to listen.
Journalists have a built in “ugh” meter when they get calls from needy PR practitioners. You only get one chance to wow members of the press with a
pitch, so save your reputation by getting to know the reporters in your city before you call.
Here are three tips to help you land that next headline:
1. Schedule face-to-face meetings.
Take a reporter out for a coffee or drink once a week.
I set up these meetings weeks in advance to make sure I am not interfering with their deadlines. I come with no agenda other than to say hello and to
develop relationships with journalists I don’t know.
You can’t expect a reporter to accept your cold pitch if you have never taken the time to invest in building a relationship. It’s a small personal touch
that goes a long way.
2. Acknowledge their work.
If you notice a great story posted by a journalist in your community, acknowledge it.
This is his or her craft, and every artist craves a little affirmation once in a while. Niketa Patel, Twitter’s news partnership manager, shared several
tips on a recent Muck Rack webinar about how journalists are using Twitter.
RELATED: Bring PR enlightenment to your team and become a hero.
3. Feed reporters reliable sources.
Once in a while, flip a reporter a good story or source.
It’s another relationship building tool—plus the source you offer up will also speak positively about you to the reporter.
A communications executive willing to have some social interaction with a journalist will go a long way in building relationships not only for you, but
also your client.
What other tips for humanizing a relationship with a journalist do you have, PR Daily readers?
is the media lead at Navigator in Toronto. He coaches senior executives and individuals on current events, public affairs and crisis management.
A version of this article originally appeared on Muck Rack, a service that enables you to find journalists to pitch, build media lists, get press alerts and create
coverage reports with social media data.