When you pitch a reporter with your great story idea, remember that reporters aren’t looking to find a new best friend. Reporters are looking for expert and sources who can give them information they need to write their stories.
Too many PR people try to become reporters’ friends by asking about their weekend activities, their families and the like. Stop. They don’t want a new BFF.
Here are 10 free publicity tips to build a strong relationship with any reporter and improve your media relations.
- Tell the truth. Don’t lie, or mislead. That’s the kiss of death.
- Don’t use hype. Even if your product is the best in the market, they won’t believe it. They hear superlatives all day long. When you gush about your product or service, you won’t stand out. You’ll sound like all the others. Just tell the facts.
- Get to know the reporter by reading their articles, blogs and TV segments. It’s easy to find this info now.
- When you pitch the reporter, refer to their articles. It’s a compliment to the reporter and they’ll know you’ve done your homework.
- Read their blogs and comment when you can add value. Reporters will get to know you and value you.
- Return phone calls and emails quickly. Reporters are always on deadline. If you aren’t available, someone else is. They will use the info from whomever responds fastest.
- Give reporters your direct dial phone numbers for mobile and desk. Don’t put them through a switchboard or voice mail jail systems.
- If you don’t now the answer, then say so. If you can find info, let them know how long it will take to get back to them – and then make sure you do.
- Double-check your facts and spellings of names. If you give an error to the reporter, you’ll make them look bad and they will never forget that.
- Thank yous are always appreciated, but gifts are not. Reporters want to be acknowledged, but they don’t want to feel like they’ve been bribed. Give compliments. Keep gifts.
If you follow these guidelines, you’ll have a better chance of being quoted today, tomorrow and long into the future. For more publicity tips from publicity coach Dan Janal, go to www.prleads.com/news.
What free publicity advice do you have?