Consumer Communications: How to Maintain Reporter Relationships During a News Lull

In life, you never want to be that person. That person that only reaches out when they need something, and never returns the favor. That person that only talks about themselves, and forgets to ask how the other person is doing. We all know that person and they’re the worst. So, as a public relations professional, why would you ever want to be that person with a media reporter?

In PR, building and fostering reporter relationships are key to the job. Yet, relationships can be challenging and time consuming, and we often fall into the damaging cycle of reaching out only when we want or need something.

To avoid this pattern, we’ve compiled a list of various tactics, tips and reminders to build abetter media relationship and continue the conversation even during the lull when your client doesn’t have a news moment to pitch.

  1. Get out and meet face to face: In this fast-paced and email-focused world, we often underestimate the importance of quality face-to-face time and in-person communication. When connecting in-person, as opposed to the phone or email, you’re able to gauge non-verbal cues (i.e., smiles, body language) and overall interest in a topic. This information will help you to quickly pivot and rework your pitch or tone in hopes of retaining attention.
  2. Engage on social media: Following a reporter on social media will give you great insights into their topics of interests, pitching preferences and provide a sense for their personality. Engage with them on their social channels through comments and likes, and even call out notable posts in emails. Additionally, some reporters post media requests via social posts, so it’s an effective way to stay in the know.
  3. Comment on non-client related articles: I hate kudos emails…said no one ever. We’re all swamped with inbound emails daily, but name a person that doesn’t love reading an email about how great their work is? Reporters work hard to craft an eye-catching article, so taking a couple minutes to call out a notable piece without making an ask, is always positive.
  4. Send an invite: Networking events occur on the regular, so why not take the time to extend the invite to a relevant reporter as well? This small action will show that you understand the reporter’s area of interest and allow for an evening together.

Turn these tactics into habits and your efforts will pay off in no time. To help get there, send a reoccurring calendar hold reminder, craft goals with your manager or pop a post-it reminder on your computer.

Do you have any other tips or tricks to maintain reporter relationships even when your client doesn’t have news?


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