3 Ways To Help Journalists And Help Yourself In The Process – Part 2 of 2
Follow up, plan ahead, and other advice for building your relationship with the media
2nd Of 2 Parts
Today’s journalists are stretched thin because of staff and budget cutbacks, and they are called on to do more with fewer resources than ever before.
Certainly, they can use help and you might be just the person to come to their aid. Assisting the media is also a great way to help yourself when you’re trying to promote your personal or business brand.
Part 1 of this two-part blog shared some of the results from a media survey by Cision, a PR software and services provider. Cision surveyed journalists from 15 countries to gauge how their jobs have been changing and what folks on the PR side might do to improve their relationships with them.
Build relationships with the media by learning how they work
Here are three more suggestions for helping journalists, based on the results of that survey:
- Follow up – but give them time first. Once you’ve sent a pitch, a press release, or an article to a journalist, should you follow up if you don’t receive a response? And if so, how long should you wait? The answer to the first question is “yes.” You don’t want to become a pest, but you definitely want to check in with them. After all, who knows? Your pitch could have become lost in their clutter of email. Or maybe they were interested in your message, but set it aside for the moment. A follow-up email or call will remind them and could prompt them to act. Don’t rush it, though. Cision’s survey found that many journalists want at least two to three days to look over a pitch before you follow up with them. If you are checking in, the journalists generally say the best time to do so is in the morning, from 8 a.m. to noon, before they get too caught up with deadlines.
- Plan ahead. Breaking news, of course, happens whenever it happens. But beyond that many journalists like to plan their stories well in advance, with 25% saying they plan a week ahead and 18% planning a month ahead. Since journalists plan ahead, you need to as well. Planning is especially important for pitches linked to a holiday, a historic event, or another specific date. If you have a great story idea for Halloween, Thanksgiving or Valentine’s Day, for example, send it out several weeks before the big day arrives so journalists have time to work it into their holiday coverage.
- Give them what they need. At Advantage, we’ve had great success providing the media with content that is written like a newspaper article. Instead of being promotional, these pieces are newsworthy, featuring our members as thought leaders on the topic and offering tips or important information about their areas of expertise. For a financial professional, we might write an article with the headline “5 Ways to Save More for Retirement.” For a business consultant, an angle could be “How to Create a Corporate Culture that Attracts the Best Employees.” This approach gives media outlets the option to run the piece as is, which can be helpful at publications that have experienced staff cutbacks and are in need of quality, ready-to-use content. The pieces also serve to inform the media about our clients, their expertise and topics they can talk about.
By understanding the journalists’ needs, you increase your odds of PR success and may even develop a long-term relationship that is good for both you and the journalist.
If they need a credentialed source in your area of expertise, they will know you are someone they can count on – and they may come back to you again and again.