Media Relationships: The Do’s and Don’ts for Interacting with Reporters/Editors

Media relationships are very important in public relations. Building and maintaining relationships with reporters are essential for the success of your client. But is there a proper way for reaching out to reporters and editors? Yes.

In the last post, we discussed how to pitch. Pitching is a way for PR pros to gain exposure and publicity for their clients. You have to know how to approach a reporter and editor as well as how to maintain a relationship. Many PR practitioners take the liberty of sending small gifts or tokens of appreciation to reporters and editors because they believe it will give them an advantage. WRONG!

As media professionals, reporters are inclined to tell the truth and deliver fact. That’s it. You don’t have to try and bribe them to get media coverage for a client. Be honest and upfront about what you want them to do.

Public relations practitioners and reporters/editors are dependent on one another. PR pros need reporters as a channel to help spread the message about their clients. And without PR pros, reporters would not have news to give to the people.

It is important that you as a PR pro learn how to interact with reporters and editors. Find out who you need to get in touch with and contact that person. Introduce yourself and set up a lunch meeting. You may also want to put together a press release of the information you want to distribute. Provide them with pictures and make sure that you give them the information in a timely manner. Also, be familiar with past features that particular reporter has covered. It never hurts to do your homework.

In addition to reaching out to a reporter on your own, it may be helpful to attend local press clubs meetings. This way, you can introduce yourself as a public relations professional and expand your network. In this business it is all about WHO you know.

It is also important to know how the news works. Be informed, know what’s going on in the world and in your particular industry (fashion,entertainment, corporate).  Once you have established a relationship with reporters/editors, remain professional at all times. If they contact you, be sure to answer within a reasonable time frame. Three days later is NOT acceptable! Remember, they have deadlines to meet as well.

Lastly, do not beg for favors or special privileges! And do not ask them to remove unfavorable publicity! Reporters/Editors and PR pros are known to have a love/hate relationship.  Break the cycle!

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