The relation between PR professionals and journalists can rarely be described as a sweet marriage. Nevertheless, media relations is an essential part of the PR practice and shouldn’t be underestimated, especially that, according to The Guardian, there are more PRs than journalists both in the UK and the US. As a newbie in the PR industry I soon will need to face the necessity of pitching media and bloggers who I don’t personally know, talking on the phone with the people whom I’ve never seen and send friendly emails to strangers. So the question is how to build lasting relationships with journalists and succeed in pitching the client’s story?
Slow PR might be the answer. After the slow food trend, the fashion for the conscious, thought out and long-lasting relationships sneaked into PR. The concept of Slow PR, described by Christopher Penn, “attempts to create as much of a relationship and value with media contacts up front (“what I can do for you”), reversing the traditional relationship of endlessly calling media contacts only when there’s a pitch to be delivered (“what you can do for me”). What does it mean in practice? In his post on the Cision blog, Jim Dougherty lists 7 ways to build better relationships with journalists. Among others, he mentions the need to be a reader/distributor of the journalist’s work, respect her/his time and interact, whether on social media or face-to-face. All of the tips require the constant attention from the PR person and are time-consuming but they pay off. Being aware of the journalists’ area of interest, their social media activity and recent work is the best way to start the relationship unrelated to the urgent pitch and cold calling.
Now, when the path of building the relationships is clear, it’s time for pitching. Journalists may be our best friends but we still need to sell the story. How to reach a food journalist with the news about the new type of smoothie or convince a technology editor to come to the small tech event? Check it in the presentation created by BuzzStream and Fractl, found on Social Media Explorer.