Just Be Nice: Rules for High-Quality Media Relationships

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When you have a big story to pitch, it can be easy to have a “quantity over quality” mindset. After all, putting your big product announcement or success story in front of the greatest number of people is the goal, right?

We want to send our stories to anyone and everyone who might be interested, but with limited time in the day, trying to send hundreds of emails out can lead to poor results – obvious errors, wrong names and impersonal BCCs can limit the success of your releases. No one wants to feel like an afterthought!

Taking the time to build connections with reporters and editors can guarantee your stories will hit their mark with greater accuracy. It may seem counterintuitive, but focusing on a smaller group of connections can guarantee more placements than sending releases to hundreds of reporters at a time.

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Be Strategic

Reporters often specialize in certain beats, and knowing these beats can make your media relations strategy more effective. A reporter focused on business likely won’t be the best target for a story about your art show, and a healthcare reporter won’t know what to do with your release about a financial management tool.

Researching reporters’ and editors’ focuses and beats through publication website or databases like Cision or Meltwater shows the contact you respect their time and makes them more likely to want to work with you.

Be Nice

You’re never too busy to show a little kindness. Simple things like the addition of a greeting and a thanks can make a media contact much more likely to consider using your story. Remember that they’re human too – treat them with kindness and you’ll start building a rapport that can help when it comes time to publish your next important news.

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Be Respectful

Once a reporter or editor has placed a story you’ve pitched, you have a relationship with them. Treat them well! Assume they know enough about your organization to get a less general, more specific pitch the second time around. Give them technical or industry-specific information you know they’ll be interested in using. Consider offering them exclusivity on certain stories. Maintaining a good working relationship with these contacts will make getting placements with them easier each time you have a good story to tell.

Reporters and editors aren’t just useful tools for doing your job – they’re doing a job too! Making it easy for them to place your story and being kind and patient is mutually beneficial, and can lead to better, easier placements in the future. When it comes to media contacts, quality beats quantity!