The Dos and Don’ts of Winning Over Reporters

Reporters need marketers as much as marketers need reporters. Without the daily influx of story pitches, some feature reporters would be challenged to come up with original topics. Still, it’s important that businesses ensure they are pitching useful, newsworthy information that appeals to each media outlet’s audience. Here are a few do’s and don’ts of winning over reporters and building a solid relationship.

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Dos and Don’ts of Winning Over Reporters

Over time, marketers can develop ongoing relationships with reporters, allowing them to return each time they have a new twist on an interesting story. To build the foundation for that relationship, though, it’s important that marketers get off to the right start. One wrong move could end that relationship before it even begins.

Here are a few dos and don’ts of communicating story ideas to reporters.

Do: Customize each pitch to both the journalist and media outlet.

While it may seem easier to launch a blanket pitch to 1,000 outlets at once, the idea is to build relationships. Research the reporter’s posts and create a pitch that is in line with what he or she normally writes. This shows you’ve done your homework and are interested in forming a mutually-beneficial working relationship where you provide great articles and the journalist gives your business a mention. You may even find the journalist occasionally contacts you in search of a quote.

Don’t: Send follow-up complaints once the post is live.

If the reporter made a potentially devastating error, feel free to request a correction. Otherwise, take the loss as part of your ongoing relationship. Never, ever contact the journalist’s boss to point out an error. Doing so will almost guarantee you’ll never be mentioned in anything that reporter writes again.

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Do: Be gracious.

Once the coverage is live, feel free to reach out with a “thank you” email. Another great way to thank reporters is to promote the post through your social networks. This gets your coverage noticed, while also giving the publication additional readers. Additional readers are always a good thing for any website or print publication, no matter how successful they are.

Don’t: Pester them.

If a journalist had a dime for every time the following email appeared in his or her inbox, there would be no need to work. “Just following up to see if you received my press release…” Sure, your email might just happen to hit on a slow news day, but if you’re trying to build a relationship, you won’t establish yourself as a pesky salesperson. Instead, seek out a new reporter who might be interested in your news coverage.

Do: Make it newsy.

The release of an update to your time management app might be news to you and your customers, but it likely isn’t news to the many business and tech news outlets out there. However, reporters for those outlets might be interested in a list of ten tips for squeezing more hours in the day or a study on how more businesses are turning toward apps to manage their days. That angle is far more likely to get coverage, while also squeezing your business’s name in as the provider of the tips or host of the study.


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