Building lasting relationships with journalists, editors, and other media professionals can strengthen your PR business and help you deliver better opportunities to your clients. Existing relationships can increase the chances that your pitches will lead to media opportunities; these relationships may even lead to opportunities that weren’t publicized.

Fostering media relationships takes time, and tracking PR leads is essential to a successful pitching process. With better recordkeeping and a deliberate relationship nurturing process, you can see better results.

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash.

Research Outlets and Carefully Craft Your Pitch

Media contacts and journalists often receive many responses to calls for pitches, but reading through irrelevant and unsuitable pitches can be irritating. Before you pitch a media contact, take the time to research the outlet where the piece will appear. Read — and then reread — the call for pitches, and be sure that you provide any and all required information.

When you reach out to a media contact, introduce yourself, highlight why your client or source would be ideal for the outlet and article and provide other relevant background information. Embedding links into your pitch can save a journalist time.

While it might be tempting to provide lots of information, remember that journalists get tons of pitches. Make things easier for them by highlighting the most relevant and important information. Use bullet points and short paragraphs so the pitch is scannable. These may be minor elements, but they could mean the difference between a journalist reading your pitch or ignoring it.

Monitor Deadlines and Be Responsive

Media contacts and journalists often work under strict deadlines, and they depend on sources like you so that they can deliver a quality piece. One of the fastest ways to damage a media relationship is to confirm that you or your client will be available for an interview, and then fail to answer the phone or submit your emailed responses on time.

When you’re simultaneously working with multiple media contacts, it’s essential to maintain detailed and accurate records so that you don’t miss those important deadlines. There are many software platforms that can help ensure you’ve submitted your responses, made appropriate follow-ups, and received links to the published pieces.

  • Prowly functions as a PR CRM, allowing you to create and organize contacts, find appropriate contacts, and even create visual press releases.
  • HubSpot offers a free CRM that you can use to create and organize PR contacts, making it easy to monitor your activity and follow up with each contact.
  • JotForm’s PR Tracker is designed to record and monitor the important details of your PR leads, so you don’t overlook any tasks and can follow each lead.

Many CRMs can be adapted to your PR lead tracking needs. Even keeping highly detailed spreadsheets can do the job for smaller PR companies.

Offer Value

Building relationships is a two-way street, so think about the ways you can offer value to your media contacts. Sharing their articles — and not just the pieces that highlight your clients — is one way to do this. Leave positive comments on their articles on social media to help boost their reach while staying connected with them.

Though you may pitch a media contact or journalist, look for ways that you can help them. Consider reaching out to connect them with someone in your network who could be a source for a story, even if this person isn’t one of your clients. Doing so will help you stand out from other PR professionals and can help build a lasting relationship.

Be Genuine

It’s essential to be genuine in your correspondence as well as in your answers. Always answer questions honestly, and if you’re unsure of the answer, it’s better to admit that or not respond to a question.

If you’re including data and statistics, providing a link to the original source or study can help your media contact quickly verify that information’s accuracy. This not only makes a journalist’s work easier, but also increases the chances of them including your response.

Invest in Relationships

Building relationships with media contacts takes time, but it’s a valuable investment in your business. If they have an established relationship with you, media contacts may turn to you more often when they’re looking for sources. If you can provide a reliable, positive experience to your media contacts, they will remember that and be more likely to follow up on your pitches in the future.

Media contacts are important, and they can lead to repeated and valuable opportunities for you and your clients.