Having been both a journalist and a PR, I’ve a pretty good sense of what gets said in a newsroom about PR types.
“They’re pedalling that rubbish brand to me again…”
“This is so poorly written I can’t work out what the story is…”
“They want something for nothing and their competitor is our loyal advertiser…”
“That woman just phoned AGAIN to ask if I’d got her press release…”
“They’ve sent me a ludicrously big photo and my sodding computer has crashed…”.
You get the picture. The thing is, we in PR can often think we’re doing a journalist a favour by sending them stories about our clients to fill their pages.
Yet, the reality is that even if they weren’t getting bombarded by 500 plus emails a day, sifting through POOR PR is certainly not helping make their life easier. What does help them is a genuine story, well written, pertinent to their target audience, with a good image, and delivered at an appropriate time.
Get those aspects right and the time-stretched journalist might even start viewing the brand featured in the press release as a useful ‘go to’ to add to their list of future story sources. The bet result of that is a better leveraged relationship with the media, whereby they often approach you for material – rather than waiting for you to think up new news angles.
Here’s a few tips for helping to improve your relationship with journalists…
* get to know them
Don’t be afraid to ask to meet them and take them for a coffee. This is especially true if the journalist operates specifically on your geographical patch or covers the very subject matter you’ll be targeting them with
* know the title
Nothing annoys a journalist more than receiving material that’s inappropriate for their particular newspaper or online medium. Make sure what you’re sending would be useful to their readers
*pick your moment
If you are going to call and suggest a story or check they’ve received material, never do so when they’re likely to be on deadline and harassed. By building relationships you’ll get a better sense of when those deadlines fall
*make your content accurate and functional
We talk about the inverted pyramid of press releases, which means putting the important detail to the top. This helps a journalist know what the story is much quicker. Be accurate and avoid leaving them with missing detail – like dates, times, contact details.
Journalists will like a well taken photo, but they won’t much like one that’s so big it crashes their computer or needs considerable editing to be worth using.
If you’d like to know more about building relationships with journalists, you may find my media training courses useful.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org