How to Build Better Relationships with Journalists in 11 Steps

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Being good at promoting your business means knowing how to build relationships with journalists, relationships that can often lead to lifelong friendships. Learn some key tips on how to make their life easier – and yours so you can help them write better stories.

  1. Know their beat – Read, listen to, watch what they are covering so you can pitch them the best story. Check out their social media channels to see their interests. Then, don’t pitch them something outside of their wheelhouse. It wastes their time and yours. The better the match, the better your shot is at securing coverage.  
  1. Introduce yourself – If you’re new to a niche or are working with a new journalist, send a note introducing yourself, tell them how you can help them, and ask them what they like to cover and if there is anything they are working on that you can help them with. 
  1. Keep pitches simple – Pitches should be short and to the point. Answer the who, what, where, when, and why. And most importantly, answer so what? Does it tie into a current trend, a news cycle, a holiday, etc.? What’s in it for their audience and why will they care? 
  1. Be a go-to resource (and not just for your own stuff) – Give them information that’s going to help them look good – an interview, behind-the-scenes information, some news you’ve heard (and can talk about) that’s coming down the line. Be an in-the-know person they can count on. 
  1. Make introductions – Help them expand their network by making introductions via email or at industry events – even if it’s not your client. 
  1. Write them a note saying you liked their piece (and what you liked about it) – A quick personal note on what you liked about a recent bit of coverage they did goes a long way in building good will. 
  1. Share and comment on their work online – Share a link to their most recent piece. Leave a positive comment on their article. 
  1. Take them for lunch or a coffee – There is the old saying, “Don’t do by email what you can do by phone. Don’t do on the phone what you can do in person.” Personal relationships are key. Do what you can to meet important media face-to-face.  
  1. Anticipate their needs – Don’t make work for them. In fact, make their life as easy as possible. Proactively send them images, video clips, graphics, access to interviews with days and times. 
  1. Send a thank you note – If a journalist went out of their way to cover your project, or even if they could just do a quick piece, send a thank you note. 
  1. Ask what else they are working on – Business professionals have vast networks. If you’re able to help a journalist with another piece they are working on, build that good will. 

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