January Seminar Recap: Building Reporter Relationships
Our agency encourages the professional development and growth of our staff through ongoing education. Several of our team members have had opportunities to attend conferences and conventions to better their skillset and network with industry professionals.
Senior Account Lead Nicole Odziewa and PR Associate Maddie Darling recently attended the PRNEWS conference in Washington D.C. Together, they led this month’s agency seminar to share their takeaways when it comes to interacting with reporters and building relationships.
Journalists receive hundreds of pitches a day, leaving many pitches to go unopened or deleted. The best way to make sure your pitch gets read is to have a preexisting relationship with the journalist you’re pitching.
To foster those relationships, set up an introductory call with a reporter to learn a bit more about them and what stories they’re interested in covering. Continue nurturing those relationships, and the reporter may think of your client the next time they need a source.
Crafting Your Pitch
Securing earned media is more challenging than ever. In fact, for every journalist, there are six PR professionals. Strong pitches are key to cutting through the clutter. As PR professionals, we need to break through the noise and create tailored pitches that match the reporters’ beat and medium.
Before sending your next pitch, consider the following:
- Make It Easy: Provide summaries, background, sources and quotes
- Be Targeted: Customize each pitch based on the medium, reporter and market.
- Think in Headlines: Provide clever framing to get more attention
- Connect the Dots: Why should your audience care?
Interacting with the media can be a stressful experience for our clients. Media training is the best way to ensure that our clients positively represent their company and are well versed in the media frame.
When media training for interviews, think of phrases that deliver a headline on a silver platter. Reporters say they look for something controversial, unexpected, that strikes emotion, pulls at heartstrings, and offers perspective– not just the facts.
With negative stories, try calling the reporter first to learn more about the direction of the story. Talk with them to learn their concerns to see if you can provide info to sway the story to be more neutral/positive.
When it comes to crisis communication, there are several steps to take for reactive statements:
- Flag for internal stakeholders
- Call reporter to ask questions on story’s direction
- Craft statement with background point
- Keep statement to 2-3 sentences
- Run for internal approvals
With many in-person and virtual learning opportunities in the year ahead, we encourage all of our staff members to be proactively searching for ongoing educational experiences that can better their knowledge and our clients.
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