Journalists and bloggers seem to be in agreement that great public relations professionals make their jobs easier and they are deeply appreciative of marketers who “get it.” In HubSpot’s S%*t PR People Do that Journalists Hate, author Katie Burke discusses the bad PR tactics, tricks and phrases that push journalists over the edge.
At the heart of what we all do is the same goal: to add value to our readers and customers with content that’s helpful and useful. There are a few ways that smart PR people can add value through their media outreach and continually strengthen media relationships while earning coverage.
1. Do your homework
Make the effort to know a journalist’s readers and writing style—and for heaven’s sake, be interesting. Boring, canned outreach will be immediately deleted. Before you hit “send,” take time to research a reporter’s beat and recent coverage and use it to personalize your media outreach. How will telling your brand’s story advance a journalist’s career or credibility?
2. Prioritize your long-term relationships over quick media wins
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Know when your story won’t be the right fit for a particular journalist. Let a journalist pass on the content rather than hurting your relationship. Don’t take it personally if a journalist tells you that your news isn’t a perfect fit for them or the outlet at that given time. It can take years to nurture good media relationships; don’t blow it on one rejection.
3. Know your editorial boundaries
It’s vital to remember your role in the editorial process. It’s okay to ask questions, but avoid overstepping your boundaries. Take caution against asking to review the article before it’s published or requesting the journalist cover your story in a certain way. Not only is that a red flag for unethical media outreach practices, it’s also a sure way to kill any chance that the journalist will want to work with you again.
4. Just stop calling!
Avoid cold calling journalists at all costs. If they don’t respond to your emails or social media interactions, adding a phone call won’t add much value to your relationship. Leave the phone calls for reporters you know well or who have requested additional information.
5. Be considerate
Give journalists time to respond to, research, prepare and publish a story. Embargoes are a great way to provide information before it’s public, with the agreement that the media won’t let the cat out of the bag. But be mindful of how you handle these embargoes—have the information ready to go when it’s needed, reporters don’t like rushing around for a story because your materials weren’t prepared in time.
When it comes to media outreach, going slow will help you go quickly. Take time, do your research, make it relevant and, most importantly, add value to your media relationships by providing helpful content that will make the journalist’s job easier.
Bloggers, journalists and PR professionals, how can we build better media relationships and add value to news in the process? What are your biggest pet peeves PR professionals should avoid?