Consistent coverage from the media comes from strong and trusted relationships. Just like any other relationships, it takes time and effort to gain trust. Before you can start growing your relationships, you need to find the correct contacts. Curating a media list starts with proper research on journalist beats. If you’re pitching an educational technology topic, you wouldn’t want to reach out to a journalist who covers wedding destinations.
Once you gather your media list, consider these 5 tips to grow your media relationships:
1. Do your research
Thoughtful targeting is key to earning great media coverage. This is where your media lists come in. What audience do you want to reach? Make a list of influential journalists in your niche and prioritize it according to level of needs. Which media members do you really want to reach? Put them at the top of the list. Remember, a targeted list is much more effective than a long, generic list of contacts.
Here at Flint Group, the PR team uses Meltwater, a real-time public relations and social media listening and reporting tool. Meltwater has great function to help create our media lists and can help save you time by using keyword searches to identify individuals who write about topics relevant to your pitch.
See more of Flint’s PR toolkit: https://flint-group.com/blog/look-inside-our-tested-pr-toolkit/
2. Send personalized, targeted emails
I think PR folks are natural relationship builders, but being friendly may come off “repetitive.” Journalists receive a constant stream of emails every day. Sending an email blast that looks like spam may rub them the wrong way. Your email communications should appear to be individually sent and tailored to the journalist.
Make sure you are sending relevant emails to the proper journalists that cover the topic you are pitching. If you send a personalized email, you have a higher chance of receiving a response.
3. Follow your media contacts on social media platforms
This helps in a couple ways. First, it allows you to get to know your media contacts by seeing what and when they post. You can learn things about your journalists that you may not have had the opportunity to learn. Let’s say one of your media contacts shared a photo from a Taylor Swift concert and you happen to love Taylor Swift yourself – throw in a P.S. at the end of your email and make the connection!
Second, you can see what your media contacts are sharing in regard to coverage. If you see they shared your brand, make sure to give them a little extra love for it. Bonus tip: If you see a piece they covered and you genuinely really liked it, leave a comment and let them know.
4. Be timely
News gets out fast. If you pitch something that happened five months ago, chances are you won’t get coverage. Stories need to be relevant to the lives of the readers. Pitching news that is relevant will give you a higher chance of coverage and shows you also respect the journalists’ deadlines.
5. Be patient
Relationships take time, so don’t give up. Investing time and energy into your media relationships is an important responsibility for PR professionals. Keep researching, engaging reporters on social media, preparing your supporting resources and – most of all – keep pitching. Your hard work will pay off!
We would love to help you establish your media contacts. Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Georgina is a public relations coordinator on Flint Group’s social media and PR team. She got her start at Flint Group as an intern in 2019, creating social media content. Today, Georgina has a passion for creating press releases, newsletters and social media content that helps her clients share their stories. Outside of work you can find her cooking, reading, writing and volunteering at Special Olympics North Dakota.