Working with the media is a huge part of any PR career.
It takes some time to build relationships with reporters and producers, and new professionals may feel intimidated at first. I recently worked on a PR campaign to launch a new retail store in Dallas and had the chance to sharpen my media relations skills.
Based on my experience, here are five tips that can help new professionals work effectively with the media.
Do your research before pitching
Before you contact any reporter, browse their latest stories. Do their stories fit your pitch? If so, customize your email to fit the reporter’s needs, or your message may be ignored. Many reporters and producers receive hundreds of pitches each day, so remember to draft a short email that’s meaningful to them.
Become a resource for the media
Acting as a resource for the media is essential in building new relationships. Feed journalists your clients’ news in a bite-sized yet impactful way. Members of the media want to read news that’s easy to digest. You know you’ve done your job when they come to you looking for more news and additional help!
Offer an exclusive story
If getting into a particular publication is important to your client and in their best interests, offer the writer of the publication an exclusive story. By giving the publication first dibs on the news, it may result in a placement with a unique angle.
Remember to follow up
Sending a follow-up message to the media is a common practice in the PR industry. To follow up effectively, send a brief email and give the journalist a call. If they pick up, keep the conversation very short. Reporters are busy and don’t always have time for small talk. What helps me is having a few notes in front of me as I’m on the phone. Take a deep breath, cut to the chase and don’t forget to smile!
Thank the reporter for his or her coverage
A simple thank you goes a long way and helps strengthen your bond with journalists. If you secure a new media placement, send an email or thank-you card to acknowledge the journalist’s work.
Nelli Tokleh is an assistant account executive at Nunez PR Group in Dallas. She received her undergraduate degree in public relations from the University of North Texas and her Master’s in Business Administration from Texas Woman’s University. Nelli is an active board member at PRSA Dallas and enjoys traveling, shopping and blogging about fashion and food. Connect with her on Twitter.