You hear it all the time in real estate, “Location, location, location”. It’s so important the adage warrants a three-fold repetition.

When it comes to PR, your location, along with your contacts in it, are your #1 assets.

Public Relations, much like life, is all about relationships. And your work is ultimately only as good as the connections you build and foster over time.

More often than not, having a personal relationship with a reporter is what distinguishes you from the sea of other people clamoring for a journalist’s attention. It can mean the difference between getting your story published and getting your email sent directly to the trash bin.

But is it possible to build the necessary relationships you need to success in PR while working remotely from say, your living room? We’re not convinced.

Though there have been many articles touting public relations jobs as being ideal for telecommuting, it can be exceptionally difficult to form and maintain key relationships without actively engaging with movers and shakers in person.

Think for a second about what happens when you first turn on your computer and sign into email each morning. Within milliseconds, your brain is trained to do a quick mental sort of what to read, what to skip and what to trash.

A clever, well-crafted subject line can help, but ultimately, it’s the sender names that are known and familiar that hold our attention and compel us to read on.

Journalists go through a similar morning routine, but with perhaps hundreds more messages to sift through. If one of those messages is from you, possibly detailing a new product release or interview opportunity, the chances of getting your email being read, or better yet, responded to, is substantially increased if said journalist has met you in person and can put a face with the name.

Make no mistake; we’re not suggesting that to be successful in PR you need to remain chained to your desk downtown in an office. In fact, telecommuting can be a fantastic way to keep a healthy work-life balance and make you more effective at your job. What we are saying is that it is critical to build relationships with media and influencers in person. And that working remotely gives you ample time and opportunity to capitalize on your job’s inherent flexibility.

For example, local networking events and happy hours are a great way to get your face in the game and get to know target media and key journalists outside their professional roles. Doing so helps build the trust that can lead to more solid working relationships down the line.

Or, say you’re looking for national coverage, make some trips to the region or coast with the highest concentration of media presence– assuming you have it in the budget. If not, keep an eye out for conferences and expos in your city, or other events like festivals that are a reasonable drive away which might have a large media draw.

Taking the time to make polite conversation or inquire about a journalist’s personal life, like hobbies and families, can help strengthen your bond and offer you little ways to personalize your business interactions moving forward.

Ultimately, while you may believe you have the most news-worthy product or client story, every other business owner and PR manager believes the same thing. What’s more, they’re all after the same valuable currency: a journalist’s attention.

Get a leg up by engaging with media in person.

In the end, there’s no substitute for face-time that doesn’t involve staring into a screen. Conduct your PR operations solely out of your home and you’ll soon understand how “out of sight, out of mind” became an adage.