Posts Tagged ‘ reporters ’

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!

The Pitch: Make it as Easy as 1,2,3

For PR interns and newbies, pitching can be extremely terrifying and difficult. When I had to send my first pitch to fashion bloggers for a client, it did not go well at all. My first mistake was that I sent it to ALL of them at the same time, within the same email! Definitely not a good look as a publicist or PR practitioner. My second mistake was that I irritated and annoyed a few of the bloggers, (unintentionally of course), by sending them the pitch again. I waited two weeks and when I didn’t hear from them, I would send the pitch again.

Here is where it gets tricky, if you are a blogger and you do not respond to a pitch right away, as a PR person, I am going to send the email again, because I assume that since you did not respond, you did not receive the email.

Until a few days ago, it hadn’t dawned on me that as a college student, I pitch to employers all the time. Think about it. When you’re looking for a job, you often build a profile online, that includes your resume’ and cover letter. You also email employers about possible job openings and current positions.

Sending the email telling employers about you and why you are qualified for the position is the SAME as sending a pitch about your client to a blogger or other media outlets.

Now that it is clear, here are a few tips to help you write and send the pitch in order to gain media coverage for your client:

1.) RESEARCH!- Research is always the most important aspect of PR. And when deciding on who to send your pitch to, it is critical. If your client is a fashion designer, it may not be a good idea to pitch to a sports editor. Find out who the fashion editor is of well-known fashion mags, located the top fashion bloggers and start there.

2.) Make a MEDIA LIST- Media Lists are very useful, especially when pitching. Make a separate list for bloggers, editors, reporters, etc. Also in addition to including basic info ( company, contact name, URL, Twitter handle), be sure to include the dates that you pitched to each person so that you don’t overwhelm or annoy them

3.) Make sure client is NEWSWORTHY- As a publicist/PR practitioner, it is your job to ensure that your client receives media placements and coverage.  When writing a pitch, be sure that you include newsworthy information. If your client has won an award, include it. If your client is hosting an event that would assist editors or bloggers, include it. It is imearative that bloggers, editors, etc understand why they should cover the story and how it can benefit them.

Pitching is only as hard as you make it. It doesn’t have to be a drag or something you simply hate to do. Hopefully these tips make it a little easier for you!

Love,

PR Girl

%d bloggers like this: