It can take a lot of time and energy to create new relationships with the media (or anyone else, for that matter). You have to do your homework, network, reach out and follow up until you either make a connection or move on. But, what’s the best way to move forward once you’ve captured their attention? Here are a few steps you can take to strengthen and maintain mutually beneficial relationships with the media. Make the Most of the First Meeting
With any type of relationship, the initial meeting is arguably the most important.
Preparation is key.
Make sure your client or colleague is fully briefed on the media outlet, the reporter and the particular subject matter they want to cover. Create a list of potential questions and review them with your client in advance to make sure he or she is comfortable and ready for anything.
Likewise, talk with reporters to find out what topics they’re interested in covering and give them as much information as possible up front. Making their lives a little easier is a great way to earn points and providing them with information can help steer the conversation.
Lastly, pay attention to the logistical details. For example, if you’ve secured a briefing at a major conference, it’s a good idea to reserve a meeting room that gives the reporter and your client a quiet place to chat. If you have visuals to show, but can’t meet in person, set up an online meeting instead of a regular conference call.
Stay in Touch
After the initial meeting, always follow up to thank reporters for their time and provide additional resources based on the questions and interests they expressed during the conversation.
But, don’t stop there. Continue to cultivate the relationship by following the reporter’s coverage areas, sharing relevant story ideas, providing updates on client news, and staying in touch via email, phone or social media.
Remember, your client is a subject matter expert, so look for opportunities for them to provide commentary on current events or serve as a resource for a story. Sometimes all it takes is a quick check of a publication’s editorial calendar and an email to get back on the radar.
Give and Take…and Give Some More
Relationships are two-way streets. When it comes to maintaining good relationships with the media, it’s not always about you and your client. If a reporter is coming to you for help, they’re usually under a tight deadline. Respond quickly and help if you can.
Even if you can’t always deliver (and there will be times when you can’t), making a concerted effort to help reporters not only preserves relationships, but speaks volumes for your clients, your agency and the PR profession overall.
Getting your foot in the door is only the first step. Know your audience, stay in touch regularly and be available when they need you. In the PR profession, relationships are created every day, but the professionals who tend to be the most successful are able to take new relationships and grow them into something truly great.