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In today’s ever-evolving digital mediabuilding relationships with journalists is more important than ever.
Journalists are constantly inundated with pitches, press releases, and interview requests, making it difficult for any one message to stand out. However, when a strong relationship is established, your message is more likely to be heard and given the attention it deserves.
Truth be told, journalists are trendsetters and the driving force behind many of the trends and patterns we see on social media and in our daily lives. They are the gatekeepers of what is coming in, what is going out, and what new material is featured in publications and online platforms. Building a genuine relationship with them is crucial to their success in the media.
Like any successful relationship, building a relationship with a journalist requires open communication, trust and honesty. But most importantly, it requires work and care. Building relationships with journalists can help establish your brand as a thought leader in your field.
Position yourself as an industry expert by providing journalists with valuable insight and commentary. Doing so will generate more media coverage, speaking engagements and other opportunities to grow your brand and establish yourself as a leader.
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1. Do your research
Before contacting journalists, it is important to do research to understand what kind of stories they cover, their target audience, what is informative, what is interesting, and what kind of information they like. . By tailoring your message to journalists’ interests and needs, you are more likely to get their attention and response.
To build a relationship with a journalist, think about what it takes to make the connection. In other words, reading their past work identifies their interests and understands why they are important to them. Pay attention to the type of story being featured, the angle, and the pattern of citations. You can also follow journalists on their social media profiles, such as Twitter and Instagram, to learn more about their personalities and interests.
2. Customize your pitch
Once you’ve done your research on the journalists you’d like to connect with, it’s time to write your pitch. A generic, one-size-fits-all proposal is unlikely to get their attention. Instead, take the time to customize your pitch to the journalist’s interests and needs.
First, call out the name of the journalist and mention an article they recently wrote to show that you are doing research and are familiar with their work. Then explain why your story is relevant to their current beat and audience, using concrete examples, data, and other evidence to support your claim.
Finally, offer yourself as the source of the story. Enter a brief bio and explain why you are qualified to speak on this topic.
Related article: 5 things you should never say to a journalist
3. Be more responsive
Journalists often have tight deadlines and will need a quick response from you to get their story published. Communication doesn’t end when you send a pitch. If journalists need to ask additional questions or verify information provided, they must be available.
If journalists choose not to cover your story for whatever reason, it will be noticeable to them to react. This is equally important in building a lasting relationship with them. Journalists are more likely to remember sources that are easy to work with and provide useful information, even if they don’t use them in their stories.
4. Follow up, but don’t be intrusive
A few days after the initial pitch submission, send a polite email to the journalist to check on the pitch’s status. Try not to be intrusive, such as sending a message every day, or every two or three days. If you do not receive a response from the journalist after sending a second or third follow-up email, consider ending the relationship.
When following up with journalists, be careful not to come across as offensive and make it clear that you are only following up as a friendly reminder. Refer to previous emails and ask if they had a chance to consider your proposal. If you’re still interested, they might send back a quick update on the current situation. If they aren’t interested, it’s best to move on and focus on building relationships with other journalists.
RELATED: 5 ways to convince journalists to actually tell your brand’s story
5. Provide value beyond your own interests
As with any healthy relationship, building a relationship with a journalist is not just about what value they can give you, but what value you can give them. There is also a thing.
For example, if you are a marketing leader, you can provide insight into emerging marketing trends and quotes for journalists to use in another article. If you have a proven attorney as a client, you can provide journalists with a reliable source of legal advice on different stories.
Building relationships with journalists is a key component of a successful media strategy in today’s ever-changing digital environment. It takes time and effort, but it’s well worth the effort. By establishing yourself as a trusted source of information and thought leaders in your field, you can grow your visibility, build your brand and stay ahead of the competition.