April 10, 2018
One of the most frequent requests we hear from clients is: can you get me top-tier coverage early, and can you give it to me often?
I recently found myself in this scenario for a client that sells visual sharing technology. I spent hours scouring through WIRED, VentureBeat, and Forbes, researching the perfect fit for an in-person meeting and demo with our client. We secured the interest, the meeting happened, and boom, coverage came to fruition soon after. Can you imagine what the client asked next?
“How do we get into XYZ Magazine again?”
Relationship-building is part of our jobs as PR pros (it’s in the name). Clients entrust us to develop and nurture relationships with the relevant press. Here are some best practices to keep in mind for maintaining and building valuable press relationships:
- Nail down the basics. In pitches, use the subject line to make your case clear so it stands out in the inbox. Get to your thoughts as quickly and effectively as possible. Always remember to label embargo times and calendar invites clearly and provide assets (visuals, raw survey data, etc.) when requested.
- You’re busy, but realize journalists are probably busier. Newsrooms are more nimble than they were 10 years ago. Journalists at every level are busy and getting busier. New York Times, Fast Company, and Fortune reporters may be also in the process of publishing books or organizing conferences; they don’t have time to waddle through hundreds of emails at the end of the day. Be accommodating if they have to reschedule an interview or don’t show up to your in-person meeting. Recognize they’re only human, too, and the relationship can and will pay dividends. Patience is key.
- Put a face to a name. Whether it’s following press contacts and conversing with them on Twitter (and amplifying their articles there, too) or grabbing them for coffee in New York or San Francisco, interaction outside of the traditional email exchange helps build trust and empathy.
- Don’t overdo it. It can be tempting to pitch press with any and every pitch from across your client roster. It’s okay to let your contacts know the different types of clients you (and your colleagues) work on, but don’t overdo it. If a contact has never covered AI, now may not be the right time to share a pitch on that topic. If your gut tells you your pitch is a stretch, then it likely is.
While securing top-tier coverage for any client - no matter the size or scope - can be a challenging feat, at the end of the day, it’s what makes the job thrilling and rewarding.
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