4 Ways to Build Stronger Relationships with Journalists

People always ask what I enjoy most about public relations and my answer has stayed the same since day one – building relationships with the press and watching them grow.  There are a few relationships in particular that always amaze me, as the conversations have grown from “Yes, I’d love to review your client’s product” to “Megan! How are you?  What are you doing for Christmas?  Anything I can help you with?”  That to me is such a blessing and I am so grateful for the opportunity to build such wonderful friendships, while doing business at the same time!

However, like any relationship, these potential new relationships take time to build and must be handled with care.  Here are 4 easy ways a pr agency can build respectable, genuine relationships with the press:

1.    Understand it will take time 

The press receives hundreds, if not thousands of pitches every day, and unless you have a relationship with them, you will most likely be buried in the sea of emails.  Continue learning about what they cover and pitch accordingly.  Show them you genuinely care and are not just interested in securing coverage for your clients.  That authenticity will go a long way.

2.    Understand not every announcement is newsworthy

Yes, revenue growth or a new feature to an app is exciting to a company, but in the grand scheme of things, it may not be newsworthy.  When building relationships with the press, you need to build trust.  They need to know they can trust that what you’re sending them is actually newsworthy and not a waste of their time.   

3.    Remember they are people, too

Any time I interact with members of the press, be it an email or friendly chat at a trade show, I always remind myself they are people, too.  Take the time to get to know them and show you care. Yes, we all have business objectives, but I believe genuine care for another is a beautiful way to help achieve your goals and objectives.  Great business results will soon follow.

4.    Engagement matters 

If you only reach out to journalists when you need something, what does that say about the relationship?  Take the time to follow them on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or any other social media channel you feel appropriate and support their posts.  A quick like, comment or share can truly enhance any budding relationship.

No matter what line of work you’re in, I firmly believe in setting yourself apart.  Show you care, take the time to nurture relationships and watch them grow over time. Casablanca was on to something when they said, “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”  

- Megan Saulsbury, founder and CEO, Canyon PR