As PR professionals, building and maintaining relationships with journalists is one of our most important duties, and it’s often done by sharing client news that resonates with them and their audiences.
But relationship-building isn’t just about consistently sharing stories with journalists; it’s also about creating strong connections with them while helping them write more compelling news pieces.
So how can you build strong relationships with journalists? Here are some tips:
Connect with them on social media
Social media is a powerful communications tool, and journalists are generally very active on Twitter and other social media channels, sharing their stories, current news and their own opinions. Social media channels like Twitter are a great place to engage with journalists, share some of their stories and see what topics they are talking about online. Starting a conversation on social media is a good way to engage with a journalist outside your inbox.
Meet with them in person
I know we have all heard this one before, yet it remains one of the most effective ways to connect with a journalist. Nothing beats face-to-face communication, so take the time to meet some of the journalists you reach out to in person.
Throughout the year, journalists and PR professionals attend the same trade shows and other industry events; set up a time to meet with them in person when your paths cross, even if it means you’ll only have time for a quick introduction.
Another way to meet with a journalist in person is to grab coffee or lunch with them. This meeting doesn’t have to be about sharing client news, but simply getting to know them as a person.
One thing to remember: You, yourself, are a resource that journalists can use to obtain information or commentary for their stories. If they call or email you to get insights from one of your subject matter experts, be quick to respond. A journalist will appreciate your quick reply and will see you as a reliable source. In addition, let it be known that you have multiple resources and experts available, either from your own clients or those of your colleagues.
Creating meaningful connections with journalists is like building relationships with anyone in your personal life and career; they take time, and you need to nourish them. Connect with journalists online, meet with them in person and, when the opportunity arises, be a reliable source – and you’ll gain relationships that will be a big asset to your PR career.