One of the most crucial activities in a PR professional’s career, in the beginning, is building and maintaining Media Relations. Good relationships with journalists are not only essential in the case of mitigating crisis situations but also, maintaining company goodwill and maintaining their interest in the company. Every day, journalists get hundreds of calls and emails from professionals pitching their stories, but even the well-written ones get ignored. Building relationships and the right affinity with journalists enable publicists to position their brands in the media.
Maintaining media relationships needs effort and one cannot build a genuine rapport with just one meeting or interaction. It takes time to bond and like any other relationship it is important to maintain it over time. It is also important to read the journalist’s previous article, understand their beat and topics that they cover. This will help in pitching the right stories and delivering quality stories.
One of the most important things to understand is that journalists have multiple responsibilities and a job to fulfill. Showing some empathy and gratitude will help you in nurturing meaningful media relationships. Relationships are built on trust and it is necessary to be genuine because people can spot if you are faking.
The key is to be confident and not pitch blindly. Being confident will increase your chances of building a genuine relationship and help you in maintaining it. It is also very important to do your research before pitching any story to the media. Be clear of what you want to say and when reaching out to the journalists let them know who you are and what brands you represent, share the news along with reliable sources. Journalists have many deadlines to meet, so do not make them wait and respond to their queries quickly. If you cannot deliver something, be honest and say so.
To be a successful PR professional, it is important to master media relations as it will help you create effective plans for your brand and help you understand the needs and expectations of your target media.