Working in PR is not simply generating ideas. A lot of hard work is required to build relationships with journalists and that can be tricky to get right as well as being time-consuming. Time is needed to undertake research, have room for trial and error and a lot of patience to ensure you do not simply become another spammer in their inbox.
There are 3 definitive ways that you can connect with journalists, with certain ways guaranteeing you a better relationship and PR coverage than others. However, PR executive at the performance marketing agency, 43 Clicks North Becky Stead, explains 3 ways that can help you turn that passing connection into a long-lasting and valuable relationship.
An initial connection
Times have changed and it is no longer necessary to send an immediate email or get a journalist on the phone. LinkedIn is a great platform as it is specifically for work, so when you reach out to a journalist for the first time for an initial connection, they will see your job title and know exactly why you are connecting.
LinkedIn is great as a prospecting tool too, as you can search by company or job title. This allows you to find people at specific media outlets without knowing their name to start with. Sending that initial connection will put your name and company on a journalist’s radar. You become an actual person with a job and a purpose rather than simply a name in an inbox.
As well as connecting on LinkedIn, Twitter has become a more popular way to engage and create a conversation with journalists and do so as much as possible.
Many journalists use Twitter or LinkedIn to share their work, so be sure to engage with it. It could be a simple ‘Like’ or a comment. Be sure to respond in an appropriate way. Do not simply ‘butter’ egos by saying they have done great work. Spend the time to read their work and respond in a meaningful way.
Once you’ve engaged with your new contacts a fair few times, reach out to them via a private message to talk directly. You can direct and ask questions such as “if I had an idea, would you like to hear it?” or “what’s the best way for me to send you something that I think may be of interest?”.
Emailing the perfect pitch
It can be possible to send a pitch straight to a journalist, without making the prior points, and gaining coverage, however, the strength of the relationship you develop may not be as strong.
Discovering and having a good understanding of the journalists you are reaching out to is so important. Knowing the type of stories, they cover and how they like to receive email pitches can help make it a perfect pitch and be done over and over again.