5 Tips for Building Relationships with the Press 

One of the reasons I love public relations is the actual “relationship” portion of the PR industry.  Although it takes time, I enjoy forming relationships with members of the press, nurturing them over the years, and watching them grow into solid relationships, and often times, friendships!  

As with all relationships, it should be done with care and respect.  Unfortunately, many PR professionals simply have the end result in mind when tackling media relations – getting covetable coverage for their clients.  Sure, that’s an obvious goal, but in order to get solid results, it’s so important to make sure you have key relationships established first. 

Here are 5 tips to ensure you a healthy relationship with the press:

1.     Know Who You’re Pitching 

If you’re sending a potential story idea to a member of the press, make sure you know exactly what they write about.  Check out some of their recent articles and make sure that what you’d like to pitch them is in line with their focus.  

2.     Make it Personal

Take the time to narrow in on who you’d like to pitch and email them directly.  Use their first name or mention a recent article they wrote to show you are intentionally interested in working with them.  I know from firsthand experience how much they appreciate this and will be grateful you aren’t wasting their time with story ideas that are not relevant to what they cover.

3.     Practice Patience

Members of the press are inundated with hundreds of pitches a day, so you can’t expect them to get back to you immediately.  Be respectful of their time and understand not only are they weeding through countless email pitches, but they are working on their own deadlines! I usually recommend following up one week after you initially emailed them.  Stay on top of your communication efforts, but always remember to respect their time.

4.     Be Available

The press can move at a fast pace, so if they ask for additional information, make sure you have it ready to go.  Quotes, images, product specs, whatever it is, make sure you already have the necessary information; if not, make sure you have a key contact you can tap into to provide you with that information.  If by chance you don’t have the information immediately available, I’ve found it’s helpful to let the press know.  Be honest! Let them know you don’t have it but are working on getting it and will send it over shortly. 

5.     Keep it Real

Be authentic, be you!  Let that shine through in all of your communication efforts.  I’ve found the press appreciate interacting with someone who truly cares and is appreciative of the time they spend with you, helping provide your client coverage.  Yes, keep it professional, but being friendly, respectful and grateful can truly go a long way in forming healthy press relationships.

- Megan Saulsbury, founder and CEO, Canyon PR