Making friends is easier when you’re younger. All you have to do is walk up to someone at the playground and next thing you know, he or she is now your best friend. As we grow older, building relationships can be a challenge, especially when it’s part of your job.
But that shouldn’t be the case. As Mary Poppins would say, “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun!”. Building relationships should not be just another task, but something that forms as a result of genuine interactions.
When you can foster good relationships with media friends, the stories that they help bring to life can be much more impactful. Here’s how you can build a stronger relationship with your media pals:
Do thorough research
Read up on journalists and their areas of interest and expertise before even reaching out to them. While this may be a no-brainer, many neglect this important step. By understanding the type of news story that a specific journalist covers, we can avoid an awkward situation of having to explain why we are pitching a lifestyle consumer story to a business journalist. Find a story that’s relevant to the journalist in question, and you would have gained a new friend.
Anticipate their needs
Instead of pitching everything under the sun, ask the journalist what stories they are planning to write and discuss how your clients can potentially provide relevant insights. All journalists have the responsibility to write things that impact their readers. While we need to consider the needs of our client, we also need to be considerate of journalists’ needs.
Incidentally, this is how you cultivate a relationship that’s a two-way street. This way, you can add value by helping the journalist to develop a strong story that truly impacts their target audience while positioning your clients as thought leaders.
Remember your manners
Always remember to be courteous no matter who you speak to – whether it’s face to face, phone, email or even a WhatsApp message. When we are polite in our interactions, we leave a good impression. Also, don’t underestimate the power of simple gestures, such as dropping an appreciation note after interviews, or any PR engagements. Genuine appreciation goes a long way in fostering better relationships with anyone.
While the tips mentioned above may seem simple, we don’t practise them enough. It needs to be ingrained in our daily interactions with our media friends. Only then it will come naturally to us, as we continue to nurture that relationship.
Journalists are humans too. Put yourself in their shoes and anticipate their needs. Once you have established a strong connection, you can cut through the noise to deliver real results for your clients.
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