It’s no secret that public relations is a very relationships-based field. From relationships with our clients to relationships with media, they’re really the foundation to achieving success and producing meaningful work.
I thought it would be beneficial to talk about relationships with media in particular, as delivering top-notch press placements for our clients is really the bread and butter of what we do. And the best way to land those is by forming a real connection with a reporter that goes beyond sending the generic pitch they receive everyday, probably 100 times a day.
Just like any relationship, it takes time, patience, communication and trust to see it flourish. So here are a few tips from my own experience on how to stand out from the clutter, catch the eye of that reporter you’ve been looking to connect with, and reach the “going steady” status you’ve been longing for.
Drop the formality and speak to the media the way you would a peer. We deal with CEOs and company presidents all day, so it’s easy to resort to a more formal tone when it comes to pitching. But to media, that tone can come across robotic, formulaic and just plain unnatural. So before you send a pitch, read it out loud to yourself and see how it sounds. If you bore yourself, chances are you’ll bore the reporter. When a reporter finds you both relatable and knowledgeable, they’ll be inclined to respond regardless of whether or not they’re interested. This will open the door for future opportunities and the makings of a real relationship.
Do Your Research
While I don’t think it’s necessary to reference a past article a reporter has written every single time you send a pitch, I do think it’s crucial to know their beat and be familiar with the type of pieces they produce. Having this knowledge will help you craft an extremely tailored pitch specific to person you’re pitching, which they of course prefer. Looking through their social platforms will also give you a sense of their personality so you can alter your tone and approach in a way that will resonate with them.
Show Your Value
Pitching can sometimes become very systematic. Your client had tremendous sales growth so you draft a pitch that showcases the numbers, gives background info on the company, and offers an interview with a CEO. While that’s an amazing accomplishment, chances are it won’t land you a feature in Forbes. Show the reporter you can think big and bring full story ideas to the table. Is there an industry trend about sales growth you can connect the news to? Do you have other brands that support whatever claims your making? Show them you know what they’re looking for and you’re the person who’s going to give it to them. Leave them with the best impression so they start to need you as much as you need them.