For all of you businesspeople, fundraisers, sales and communications professionals out there, you know that in order to be successful you must do one thing really well: Build relationships.
The same is true in generating media coverage for your organization. It takes time to build relationships with journalists. But when you do, the rewards can be great. Here’s some advice to start building relationships with journalists:
Learn who covers your industry for your regional and trade media. Local print reporters often have so-called “beats” such as business, health and fitness, arts, sports, and so on. Find out who is writing about your area of expertise and follow their stories.
While some television stations have beat reporters, most broadcast media rely more on “general assignment” reporters — meaning that one day they may be covering a court room trial and the next they may be covering a fire. Regardless, be familiar who covers what topics in your local media. The same holds true for trade media. Know the major trade media outlets in your industry. Keep an eye out for who covers topics that relate to your business.
Once you have identified journalists of interest, read or watch their stories and follow them on Twitter. Keep an eye on the kinds of stories they cover and what topics interest them. This will help you tailor your media outreach efforts toward the right reporter.
Building relationships in any endeavor takes time. Begin the process with reporters by passing along items of interest, providing information about your industry, and letting them know that you’re willing to offer comment on breaking news in your industry.
Over time, the journalists you reach out to may call on you to provide context on developments in your industry. In the process, you will not only build relationships, but awareness of your organization and its efforts.