5 Tips for Building Stronger and Deeper Media ConnectionsFeb 27, 2023
As a PR pro, you know how important media connections are when you’re pitching your client for new opportunities. But you need to go deep with your contacts. A journalist who knows you, your agency, and your credibility is less likely to scroll past your email and give someone else the time of day. When you have close, personal connections with media contacts in your niche, you can leverage them to score high-impact features and generate massive results for your clients!
Why Should You Build Deeper Media Connections?
Yes, your relationships with your media connections are primarily professional, but they should be personal, too! Journalists and editors are human and want to be treated as such. Your connection is mutually beneficial, but should still be filled with genuine respect for and friendliness with one another. Don’t hold your contacts at arm’s length in an effort to be uber-professional!
Honestly, a strong relationship with even a single journalist can make or break your press coverage. That deep connection will stay strong as the journalist moves between beats, publications, and career paths. Your relationship is a solid foundation you can lean on when helping your clients make major waves and find new audiences in your niche!
5 Ways to Create Stronger Media Connections in Your Niche
Building stronger media connections might seem easier said than done, but that’s just a myth! The time and effort (and minor tweaks to your outreach strategy) that this takes are more than worth it. Here are five of my best strategies for deepening your connections with your media contacts and fostering truly meaningful relationships.
#1: Personalization Is Everything!
This is my #1 tip for connecting with journalists and editors in your niche, and it’s majorly effective! Each pitch you send out should be totally personalized for the editor and publication you’re pitching and should show your unique personality. Generic, impersonal pitches are the easiest for editors to reject, even if they’re super relevant to their niche – an email with a basic copy & paste intro can get you sent to the trash bin (or worse: the blocked list!).
Put in the effort to do some basic research on your media connections before you pitch them. Look into their recent pieces to see if there’s anything you can comment on or connect to your client. You’ll show your contact that you’re plugged into what they’re doing, know their talents, and truly respect their work.
Then, take a scroll through their professional social media profiles to see if they’ve shared anything personal lately. You could ask about a recent vacation, wish them well on a big personal project, congratulate them on their kid’s graduation…whatever! What matters is that you’re showing that you respect and care for them as a person, not just as a journalist you’re pitching.
#2: Communicate, But Don’t Be Overbearing
Journalists are communications professionals, too, and they need you to be on top of your game when it comes to fulfilling their requests during the writing process. When they ask you to deliver, you need to do it ASAP! Leaving an editor hanging makes it all too easy to get dropped from a feature…and you know they have a dozen other pitches in their inbox they can choose instead.
But in your effort to be communicative, don’t be over-communicative – there’s a clear line you don’t want to cross! Give your media connections the time they need to receive and review your pitch, write and edit the feature, and finally publish it. Following up multiple times during each stage of the process gets super annoying and frustrating for your media contact, and they’ll be less likely to accept your pitches in the future! Trust them to do their job and only step in when they request it.
#3: Engage with Your Media Connections on Social Media
Researching your media connections on social media is super important, but you have to engage with them there, too! Don’t just hit the follow button and leave it at that – you should like and share their posts and leave comments when you have something valuable to add to the conversation.
A simple “awesome work!” or “great piece – would love to speak to you about my client!” is not going to cut it. Journalists are proud of their work and want to share it with people who actually care. Be genuine and tell them why you loved their piece in between complimenting their work…and don’t try to shamelessly plug your clients!
The one thing you shouldn’t do when engaging with your media connections online? Pitch them. Lots of editors use Twitter, Instagram, and the like to amplify their stories, not collect new ones. Social media is a place for building connections, so keep your pitches confined to email unless a journalist explicitly requests them in a dedicated post or their bio.
#4: Take Your Relationships Offline
PR pros (and publications!) are all over the world, so most of your media connections will likely be online only. But if you have the opportunity to bring your relationship offline, take it!
Meet with local journalists for coffee when they’re available, or attend events at their office if they’re relevant to your niche. If you’re traveling to a major city where some of your national media contacts are located (think New York City or Los Angeles), reach out before you arrive and ask to meet while you’re in town!
Your relationships with your media contacts will naturally deepen once you meet in person. There’s just an element of someone’s energy that you can’t capture or feed off of through a screen! Making a memory together (whether that’s just coffee at their favorite shop or a deep conversation at a press event) will help cement your relationship and give you something to bond over for years to come.
#5: Show Your Appreciation
This tip is last, but it’s certainly not least. Your contact gave you and your client a killer media placement, so make sure they know that you both appreciate the opportunity!
Always share the completed article with your agency’s audience and your client’s audience once it’s online. Show your gratitude for smaller features with a personalized thank-you email or a handwritten note delivered to their office. For larger features, you could also send a small floral arrangement or a curated gift basket – bonus points if you connect your gift to something from your relationship, like a coffee shop you both love or a treat they can’t get enough of!
Keep up the gratitude long after your media connection’s article has been published. Continue sharing their pieces (even ones where your clients aren’t featured!) on social media and leaving comments on their posts. Show them that you appreciate them and admire their work regardless of your client’s involvement – this will create a sense of trust and respect on all sides.
Related: 14 Dos and Don'ts of Building Professional Respect with the Media
Building strong media connections in your niche is a key part of scoring impactful press features for your client regardless of what’s happening in the media landscape. With these five strategies in hand, you’ll be better able to forge lasting, meaningful relationships with media contacts and generate consistent results for your clients!