It’s true what they say: in public relations, you’re only as strong as the relationships you’ve built. And the key relationship you want to build and maintain – is with media.
In job interviews, interviewers will ask about the media relationships you have. In new biz meetings, potential clients will ask about media relationships you have. It’s one of the most valuable things as a PR professional you can bring to the table. This got us thinking, how does one build and maintain these types of relationships, especially if you’re new to PR or have less experience pitching media? We polled some of our team to get their best relationship-building tips to share with you:
- For ICLabs senior manager Meredith Klee, it’s important to always be the last one at the media event or party and make sure there’s always champagne. This gets you more facetime with media and it makes you memorable. Oh, and always know the best place to go nearby for more drinks and/or food once the party ends.
- Associate Torie Richardson has built some of her best media relationships by reaching out on social media. Her rule: always makes sure to reach out about a common interest and something non-work related instead of just pitching them. It usually leads to a good conversation where she can later work in a relevant pitch.
- “Be human – leave that marketing bullshit talk at the door,” senior manager Mallory Cloutier says. You should be able to talk to a reporter like you would talk to any of your friends. Keep it casual, don’t be afraid to be yourself and show them you’re relatable.
- My advice? Invite media to happy hours or arrange for outings around things you’re both interested in (for example, I play soccer with some reporter friends) so you can build a friendship beyond the traditional work relationship. Another great example is the Hacks vs. Flacks event we hosted at our office. We invited a ton of media & PR pros but told them to leave work at the door. It was a great way to unwind and bond over arcade, video and board games.
- For manager Brittany Votto, it’s important to not be intimidated and don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. As long as you do your due diligence, they should want to pick up what you’re throwing down. Just be normal and know that if you’re doing your job right, you’ll be a welcome phone call and a valuable resource for them!
Do you have other tips you want to share? Comment below!