Cultivating Media Relationships
If there is one thing that is absolutely, without a doubt, essential to public relations, it’s editorial relationships.
In most markets, those doing the pitching often outnumber editors so the media as a whole is constantly inundated with story ideas and general requests. Relationships between the two sides end up ultimately being mutually beneficial—reporters can count on reliable and professional sources while those in a position to provide content may have the opportunity for an increase in press mentions.
So what are the key points to keep in mind when nurturing your media relationships?
1. Be resourceful.
If you are looking to increase your press, then the very best thing you can do is adjust your mindset from “What can I do to get featured?” to “How can I be a resource to others?” Oftentimes, your pitch may get turned down, but the communication doesn’t have to end there. Do a bit of background on the media outlet and when thanking them for their consideration, make note of other ways you may be of assistance in the future. If you find yourself in a position where you may not have the exact answer they need, don’t hesitate to connect them with someone who can help. Some may scoff at the idea of sending a media contact elsewhere, but from a “big picture” standpoint, you’re simply solidifying your reputation as their go-to source.
2. Be in touch.
For many editors, there are certain points during the year when fresh content is essential—be it a call for submissions for weddings and shoots during particular seasons to points where writers are working to wrap up their respective articles for an upcoming issue. Mark your calendar accordingly based on years past, and take time to reach out with a brief, but friendly, email to see if you can be of assistance with any current needs. The key here is to be purposeful with your communication.
3. Be prompt.
Any sales expert will tell you that it’s essential to respond promptly to all inquiries and clients, and the same should be said for the media. Reporters are often on tight deadlines, so a quick turnaround on the content they need will be appreciated.
4. Be authentic.
The best editorial relationships I’ve enjoyed all have one thing in common—we sincerely enjoyed each other’s company and correspondence. Perhaps you find a mutual dislike of the never-ending Mason jar trend, or discovered a shared interest in all things chocolate. While you want to remain professional at all times, it’s okay to let your guard down a bit and get to know the editors on a more personal level. Everyone benefits from working with people that they enjoy.
Cultivating media relationships can take time, but will ultimately pay off for both sides. Keep the above tips in mind while you make your PR plans for 2015.