build relationships with reportersAs PR pros, our primary job is to secure media coverage for our clients, but what do we do if they don’t have news? It’s not every day that your client receives VC funding, inks a new partnership or launches a new product.

One of the building blocks to locking down consistent coverage is creating strong relationships between your client and reporters, and turning your client into a reporter’s go-to resource.

It’s no easy task, but it has been an extremely successful tactic for one of my clients in an interesting industry with a smart and opinionated executive. Every time the executive travels, we reach out to locally-based reporters who are writing about the company’s space, and set up exploratory meetings.

This sounds easier than it is…. as we all know reporters are busy people so carving out 30-60 minutes of their day to meet with your client is a big ask. Here’s a few tips I’ve learned to help lock in the coveted in-person meeting:

  • Create a heat meter list. There are hundreds of reporters out there, and if you don’t have a clear focus, you can spend hours pitching reporters who may not be the perfect fit to chat with your client. Creating a “heat meter list” full of reporters who clearly cover your clients’ beat is a great way to focus and track key relationship opportunities.
  • Read your client’s industry news every day. It’s up to you to provide relevant topics that your client can discuss with the reporter. Pin-point how your client brings a new perspective to the table.
  • Talk with your spokesperson often. When pitching an in-person meeting you are pitching your client as a resource, not the product or service that they represent. You need to understand their opinion on varying topics and have clear examples of their unique point-of-view.
  • Pitch your PR pro heart out! No news isn’t a roadblock; it’s an opportunity to create a building block for future media moments. Keep picking up the phone and chatting up your “heat meter” targets, especially when your client will be in town and has something to say.

In this industry, our role is to keep the lines of communication open between our clients and media at all times—if you keep the iron constantly warm, you’ll be ready to strike when it’s hot! Go forth and pitch, PR pros.