In the past, media relations is all about inviting journalists for coffee even without a big event to attend and reaching out to them for a face-to-face meeting when there are scandals and issues that the company or individual the public relations agent represents is facing. Those old days are gone now. Today, some PR experts actually work with journalists they haven’t seen personally. They become “friends” and “acquaintances” through social media. The ability of everyone to interact via teleconference platforms eliminated the need for those working lunch breaks.
Even the writing, advertising, and cajoling journalists and editors to write about the issue have come to pass. Digital technology changed the way people interact with each other. This is evident in the relationships among advertisers, marketers, and PR specialists and journalists, editors, and publishers.
Just look at the way smart tech PR agencies operate. These highly specialized PR agencies can operate from anywhere, offering their services to people outside the usual jurisdiction. That’s what the digital age brought to PR companies, but it also presented another challenge—building and maintaining media relations.
Use Social Media
Find journalists and media publications on social media. Follow them there. Put the notifications on, so you will receive an alarm when they post something. Use social media to introduce yourself to them or remind them where you’ve seen each other last. You can ask about their work and make sure they know that they can reach out to you when they have to. Now that you are connected on social media, it becomes even easier to invite them to your events.
Read and Comment on Media Posts
Whether the post is personal or work-related, you have to know about it and comment on it, if possible. Of course, don’t comment on every post, or you will look like a stalker. Make it a point to like posts that speak to you and comment on those where your thoughts will be welcomed. Don’t only comment on their actual social media posts, but find their articles and share your thoughts there, too. If they have to clarify things with you, they’ll know you are open to talking about the topic.
Send Personalized Email
PR specialists make the mistake of pitching a story before reaching out for something else entirely. Why don’t you find a common ground with a journalist and send a personalized email about something other than work? They will appreciate the gesture of you trying to get to know them beyond their jobs. For example, you can email about a certain topic they wrote about to tell your opinion. Just engage. There’s always another time for work.
As you exchange emails back and forth, the relationship will grow. It becomes easier to develop a good working relationship with these people. Remember, just like employees, journalists and editors need to know they are valued. This is going to pay off in the long run.
Send a Package
You can always send an item to a journalist or publisher with whom you are trying to maintain a kind of relationship. For example, a box of cookies or a pack of coffee beans will go a long way toward letting them know that their relationship with you is valuable to the company. Some may see this as a bribe, but it’s more of a care package. You will send a care package to a friend, won’t you? This means that you’ve thought about them when you see these items.
Always Be Available
Time and time again, journalists, bloggers, and editors will reach out to you. Don’t forget to always be available for inquiries, comments, and even suggestions. If you cannot attend to their needs or answer their questions, make it a point to find someone who can address their concerns. A little help will go a long way toward making them feel that this relationship is important to your company. Be as helpful as possible and always squeeze in time from your busy schedule to reach out to your friends in the media.
You have to be consistent with media relations even if everything is moving fast in the digital space. If you are not careful, you can lose fast the relationships you’ve worked long to cultivate. Someone else may take your place. Even though consumers now depend on social media for information, marketing, and advertisements, the media is still the most organic way to reach your market and sell your products, services, and ideas.