How do you woo media contacts and develop relationships built to last? Here are seven examples of the various relationship types to consider when courting your prospects, clients & network of media contacts.
THE BASICS: PLEASE DISPLAY THE FOLLOWING (AT THE VERY LEAST!)
Practice Good Hygiene: This involves more than just checking your breath before the pitch. Make sure your pitch is in ship shape condition by utilizing good grammar, proper punctuation and double checking that your facts are correct.
Utilize Politeness: Get their name right, including spelling. It’s easier to mess this up than you think, and people will Never. Write. You. Back (who can blame them?) if you mess up their name!
Exercise Respect: Your PR conquest is not a thing you can objectify. Your prospect and their brand, product, outlet, or service are more than a cute face and good byline. Remember that they’ve worked hard to get where they are. And now, together, you can partner to help them achieve their next round of goals & objectives. This should be a mutually beneficial relationship.
Implement a Good Opening Line: Don’t start with “hope you are well”, which is basically the “‘sup girl” of PR outreach. If you’re personalizing your pitch, take time to truly make it personal. Just like DMs in a dating app, a “Pizza or Sushi” works better than a “How are you?” (Bonus points if you know which one your prospect already prefers!)
The Various Types of Relationships Part 1: DTF aka “The Blast”
As with any other type of outreach, please review and follow “The Basics” above. When you’ve nailed that part, next comes what we like to call, “The Blast”, or the most anonymous of PR hook-ups. You may cover a lot of territory and get a lot of numbers, but substantial lasting relationships are less likely. That said . . . if you hook someone you like, reel them in.
The Various Types of Relationships Part 2: The Reliable Hook-Up
While the reliable hook-up may not be your dream person, they should be someone with whom you can rely to help you out. They’re reliable...and in the world of both dating and PR, the reliable hook-up is someone of beauty and industry! Make sure that you:
Nurture your relationships by following best practices for outreach
Check-in with them regularly to genuinely nurture and keep up on the relationship - not just when you need a quick hook-up: “Hey, amazing article on Mark Ruffalo! You’re such a good writer!” - takes less than a minute to send an email congrats
Show you care by tweeting their other bylines occasionally - adjacent content FTW!
The Various Types of Relationships Part 3: Friends With Benefits
Friends, loosely or precisely defined, make life special. They can lend a helping hand in a pinch, offer a sympathetic ear when needed, or even take you out for a celebratory cocktail. That said, we don’t want to make them feel like they’re being leaned on too heavily, and we definitely don’t want to take advantage of them.
If your friend does you a solid, make sure to do them a solid in return. For instance, one of my media contact friends is amazing about replying, and often covering, a particular client. One of the ways we try to reciprocate is by sharing widely on social and putting the client’s ad dollars behind a post to boost it, which benefits her as well, since she has a more highly shared and read post.
Always make a friend feel special. That way, you can remain friends and your friend can continue to do you solids. An IRL gift goes a long way. Whether it’s a shipment of the favorite kombucha he mentioned in a Twitter post or a beautifully penned thank you note sent through the USPS, there are plenty of ways to make a friend feel special that don’t cost an arm and a leg in time or money.
The Various Types of Relationships Part 4: Your Ride or Die
We all dream of having a ride or die. When you find one in the PR world, hold onto them tightly!
A true ride or die will come to you with loving requests and favors
When your ride or die comes to you with a request, fulfill it!
Even if it’s on a weekend
Even if it’s inconvenient
Even if you have to sweet talk a client
These are the relationships that fulfill you for years to come
Even if your ride or die changes publications, treat them with loving kindness and they will stick with you
The Various Types of Relationships Part 5: The High-Maintenance, High Net Worth Individual (HMHNW)
Yes, they will have demands.
Yes, they will be worth your time.
Fulfill every request quickly and with humor and intelligence.
Keep this relationship going at all costs.
Flatter your HMHNW Individual--in a sincere way!
Occasional handwritten letters or care packages when appropriate
Pay attention to detail, because you know the HMHNW Individual will do so as well.
The Various Types of Relationships Part 7: Dream Girls (and Boys, I Guess). Dream People!
These are your dream targets. Think: New York Times, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, NPR, etc.
Do your research on the journalists. I mean, really do your research.
Social media accounts
Read past articles
Find out what they care about
Find out who they’re connected to in the professional world and beyond.
Present yourself at your smartest, best self. Be sincere, but match your voice to that of the tone of the person and business/publication/brand.
Before reaching out, follow said contact on Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn, and retweet/like posts, offer commentary if/when it’s appropriate.
If they don’t respond at first, don’t keep harassing them. Bide your time. This may take a while, but it will be worth it!
Remember, good PR relationships are just like IRL relationships: they follow no set guidelines, are often surprising, and should never involve an acoustic guitar. But with some good common sense, courtesy and intelligence, you just might make this work!
For more PR tips and insights, follow Dadascope Communications on the following social channels below. Looking for any agency or to get in touch? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us HERE.
At Dadascope, Elka Karl writes, edits, plans campaigns, and tries to respectfully connect with media. Away from Dadascope, Elka enjoys horses and bassoons. She met her husband 12 years ago on Craigslist. Sadly, she has never swiped right.
Original Content: Elka Karl | Media Relations + Content Specialist