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Recently, I have been building my relationship with a marketing publication’s editor in chief, after securing a couple of my tech PR clients as interview subjects with him. How did I get the EIC’s ear, you ask?

I did my research. I reviewed the masthead. I read the publication. I looked at who was writing what at that publication – determining whether news was the best lure or else a trends discussion, and if trends, which trends were most covered. There is a lot of thought and analysis that goes into a media relations pitch – and when you don’t do that homework, your pitch is often ignored. Or worse, you end up blacklisted.

Tech PR media relationships hinge on helpfulness

When you talk about media relations, you might focus more on the second part of the phrase: relations. Relationships in this case are not about who you are chummy with and grab coffee with the most or shoot the breeze with on the golf course. These relationships are built on exchanges – a PR professional giving a reporter what he or she needs to do his or her job. Especially with the evolutions to the media landscape today – the dwindling newsroom, competition for eyeballs with many sources of news (and fake news) and the focus on getting the most clicks on (and advertising dollars out of) their stories – reporters are always looking for the best angles, juiciest stories and most exclusive sources.

This is what a good public relations practitioner brings to a reporter in a pitch. This is how you get attention for your client or company. This is how you build a name for yourself as a good resource for reporters – and how you create relationships with media.

Going back to the relationship I’m building, after landing one interview with this editor, I found out he prefers one-on-one, in-person conversations with expert sources who can speak candidly not just about their businesses, but also about larger industry trends. So, I used that knowledge and my “in” with him to get another client a similar opportunity. These pieces of coverage are precisely what my clients need – positioning in front of their target buyers.

Extending the value of media coverage

You may think that once the coverage appears, that is the end of the story, but it’s not. Take the time to help that reporter get more shares for the story, and make sure your company is ready to capitalize on the coverage. Is your spokesperson ready to engage with people on social media about the story? Is your company’s website content optimized to capture the attention of visitors referred from the coverage with more relevant and useful information? And, better yet, is the site equipped to capture lead data?

Building relationships with reporters takes time and effort. Making sure these questions are answered beforehand helps you make your relationships pay off.