Building relationships with reporters and editors is key to helping your clients’ news releases become inspirations for news coverage. Sending news releases and making friendly, engaging follow-up contacts is a common-sense approach all PR people should know. However, it’s critical that you also build trust and respect with journalists to get your stories on the air, in print and online. Here are five tips that will help.
- Understand news value.
When you’re building relationships with journalists, be mindful of what they consider to be news. Is your client opening a job-creating new store? That has news value. Is your client having a mattress sale? Write the news release so it ties into current issues: Your client is cutting mattress prices by 20 percent to help customers through a stagnant economy. Make it interesting and newsworthy!
- Make your release speak for itself right up front.
Write an attention-grabbing subject line. Reporters and editors get so much email that they might miss a news release that doesn’t have a subject line that catches their eye right away. If they scan past it, they might miss out on something worthy of coverage – and they won’t tell your client’s story. Make that subject line shine.
- Be an asset – not a gatekeeper – to members of the media.
Be responsive and call back quickly when a reporter calls. Reporters and editors appreciate and respect a fast callback and an offer to find the right representative in your client’s organization for quotes. They don’t like waiting for hours for a response. Be proactive – it goes a long way!
- Always respect deadlines.
It’s important to always ask reporters when their deadlines are. Respecting deadlines is critical to building trust with members of the media, because none of them want to receive a news release for an important story a half-hour before their deadline. Give them a chance to report and write.
- Send your release to the right reporter.
Do you have an art-related release? Be sure to send it to the newspaper or TV station’s features desk, not to the transportation reporter. The reporter or editor responsible for a subject outside your release’s scope is likely to ignore it.
While writing great releases is important, you have to cultivate respect and trust with reporters and editors. Axia Public Relations can help your company receive positive news coverage. Contact us or download our e-book Learn Media Relations From The Media: What Journalists Want You to Know Before You Contact Them for more tips from the pros.
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