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In today’s fast-paced world, getting the word out about your business is more important than ever. Press releases can help, but they’re not enough anymore. Maintaining good media relationships is important as reporters get tons of emails every day, and boring messages just get ignored.

According to a study by Unilever, Brands with purpose grew 69% faster than the rest. When your brand has a clear purpose and makes a positive impact, it naturally attracts attention. Reporters and media outlets are drawn to stories that resonate with people, so focus on making a difference and the coverage will likely follow.

The secret to getting regular news coverage? Making friends with journalists! By building relationships with the media, you create a win-win situation. You provide them with interesting stories, and they help spread the word about your business.

Why Media Relationships Matter: The Power of Partnership

According to Cision, 79% of journalists prioritize readership/viewership when evaluating story ideas, while 68% value understanding the target audience. Building relationships allows you to understand their needs and tailor your pitches accordingly. It transforms you from a one-time source into a trusted advisor, someone they can rely on for insightful and newsworthy content.

Here’s how strong media relationships benefit you:

  • Increased Pitch Success Rates: Journalists are more likely to consider story ideas from familiar and respected sources.
  • Enhanced Credibility: Being featured by credible publications validates your brand and positions you as an industry thought leader.
  • Deeper, More Nuanced Coverage: Relationships allow for a more detailed understanding of your brand, leading to richer and more impactful stories.
  • Crisis Communication Advantage: Having established relationships can prove invaluable during negative press situations. Trust built over time fosters a more open and collaborative approach.

Building Bridges: Strategies for Cultivating Media Relationships

Now that we’ve established the “why,” let’s delve into the “how.” Here are key strategies to cultivate long-term media relationships:

1. Know Your Audience (Theirs, Not Just Yours):

  • Research, Research, Research: Invest time in understanding the journalists you target. Read their articles, follow them on social media, and identify their areas of expertise and the types of stories they typically cover.
  • Become a Resource, Not Just a Pitcher: Offer insights and commentary beyond your brand. Share industry news, relevant research, or potential interview subjects.

2. Craft Compelling Pitches That Add Value:

  • Ditch the Generic Template: Personalize your outreach. Highlight specific articles by the journalist and demonstrate how your story aligns with their audience’s interests.
  • Focus on Newsworthiness: Present a compelling angle – is your story timely, and relevant, or does it offer unique data or insights?
  • Keep it Concise and Clear: Journalists are busy. Get to the point quickly and offer a clear value proposition in the initial email.

3. The Art of the Follow-Up (Without Being Annoying):

  • Respect Deadlines and Timeframes: If a journalist doesn’t respond immediately, be patient. Consider a polite follow-up email after a reasonable timeframe (a week or so).
  • Offer Additional Information, Not Pressure: In your follow-up, provide any additional details that might strengthen the story or answer potential questions.
  • Focus on Building Rapport: Express your interest in their work and offer yourself as a future resource, even if this particular pitch doesn’t get picked up.

4. Go Beyond Email: Building Relationships Through Networking

  • Attend Industry Events and Conferences: These provide opportunities to connect with journalists in person, establish rapport, and discuss potential story ideas.
  • Engage on Social Media: Like and share their articles, offer insightful comments, and participate in relevant conversations they spark online.
  • Think Outside the Box: Consider co-hosting webinars, participating in industry podcasts, or offering exclusive interviews to build relationships.

5. Be a Reliable Source and Deliver What You Promise

  • Meet Deadlines and Be Responsive: Once you’ve secured coverage, be prompt and professional in your communication with the journalist.
  • Provide Accurate and Compelling Information: Ensure the details you share are well-researched and contribute to a strong story.
  • Be Available for Interviews: Make yourself readily available for interviews and respond promptly to interview requests.

6. Be Transparent and Authentic (Even During Challenges):

  • Mistakes Happen: If there’s negative news or a crisis, be upfront and transparent with the media. Withholding information or attempting to spin narratives will erode trust.
  • Own Your Mistakes and Take Responsibility: Acknowledge missteps and outline the steps you’re taking to rectify the situation. Journalists appreciate honesty and a proactive approach.
  • Maintain Open Communication: Keep journalists informed about developments, even if they’re not necessarily positive. This fosters trust and allows for a more balanced portrayal in their coverage.

7. Celebrate Successes (Theirs and Yours):

  • Recognize Their Accomplishments: Did a journalist you work with win an award or publish a particularly impactful piece? Send a congratulatory note – it shows you value their work.
  • Share Positive Coverage: When you secure positive press mentions, share them with the journalist who helped you achieve them. It demonstrates your appreciation for their efforts.
  • Maintain Communication: Even when there’s no immediate story in sight, stay connected with journalists. Send occasional updates, industry insights, or holiday greetings.

8. Be a Thought Leader, Not Just a Talking Head:

  • Share Industry Expertise: Develop thought leadership content – blog posts, white papers, or research reports – that demonstrate your company’s knowledge and insights.
  • Offer Commentary on Trending Topics: Position yourself as a reliable source for industry commentary by offering your perspective on relevant news stories.
  • Proactive Pitching: Don’t wait for journalists to come to you. Identify emerging trends and proactively pitch story ideas that showcase your expertise.

9. Embrace New Media Landscape:

  • Social Media Savvy: Many journalists are increasingly active on social media platforms like Twitter. Use these platforms to engage with their content and establish yourself as a thought leader.
  • The Rise of Podcasts and Video Content: Consider offering interviews on popular industry podcasts or creating video content that journalists can incorporate into their stories.
  • Think Outside the Traditional Newsroom: Don’t limit yourself to mainstream media outlets. Build relationships with bloggers, influencers, and online publications relevant to your target audience.

10. Patience and Persistence: Building Media Relationships Takes Time

Building strong media relationships is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. Persistence, coupled with genuine effort and value addition, will pay off over time.

Building relationships with journalists takes time and dedication, but the rewards are significant. However, we understand that not everyone has the resources or bandwidth for a full-fledged media relations campaign. If you’re looking for a shortcut to reach your target publications, Digital Nod can help! At Digital Nod we offer guaranteed press coverage in hundreds of premium publications, including Forbes, USA Today, Yahoo, and more! Let us handle the legwork while you focus on running your business.

Conclusion

By investing time and effort in cultivating strong media relationships, you can unlock a wealth of benefits for your brand. Remember, it’s about establishing a two-way street of communication, where you provide value to journalists and they, in turn, help amplify your message and reach a wider audience. Following these strategies and fostering genuine connections can build lasting bridges that lead to long-term press coverage and overall brand success.


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