February 13, 2012
/ by Yvette Pistorio
Photo courtesy of Pen Waggener via Flickr
At the end of the day, our relationships are what matter, both professionally and personally. And when it comes to building a professional relationship with a journalist or blogger, it’s not all that different from dating. The first impression can be a little awkward, like writing a lead paragraph, but if you manage the process well, you can build a relationship that is long-lasting.
It all starts with building a good foundation. Have you ever felt like a relationship was moving too fast? Well, you’re just as capable of encountering that pitfall when it comes to pitching. Don’t jump right into commitment on Day One. Take the time to have a few dates, get to know each other and build some trust.
Here are a few tips on finding and keeping your soul mate:
What’s your pickup line?
Is it something like, “Hey, do you have any Band-Aids?” [usually followed by ‘no, why?’] “Because I skinned my knees falling for you.” I hope no one ever uses this line again…EVER!
The best pickup line is, “Hi, my name is…” The same goes for media relations. A fancy, jargon-filled opening line will result in a journalist or blogger rolling their eyes. When you contact people, let them know who you are and why you’re reaching out to them. Ditch the cheesy pickup lines and marketing fluff.
Get to know your date
You don’t want to be on a date with that person that incessantly talks about themselves, right?
Do your due diligence and get to know your journalist or blogger. Read their newspaper, magazine, blog or watch their TV show before you start pitching. Look at what kind of stories your journalist has been writing, understand what they’re interested in and talk about that. Comment on their blog posts or stories, and engage with them as often as possible. It’s not easy and it takes a lot of time…and I mean it when I say a lot!
Gini Dietrich, CEO of Arment Dietrich and publisher of Spin Sucks wrote, “It’s about relationships. And relationships are with human beings…and that takes time.”
On the first date, keep it short and sweet.
Whether you’re pitching on the phone or writing an e-mail, stay on topic, be respectful of the journalist or blogger’s time and deadlines, and get all of the relevant information out upfront. Tailor your pitch to that journalist and their readers. Don’t just send the same pitch to everyone on your list.
Say thank you
If your journalist covers you or your client, say thank you! It’s easy, quick and painless. This might not be the last pitch you send their way, so don’t forget to acknowledge their work.
Journalists and bloggers are people just like you and me, so treat them that way. Abbi Whitaker said it quite well on Ragan’s PR Daily: “Good PR delivers real news and develops real relationships. Sometimes we all need to dial back the hyperbole, tone down the spin, and get back to the basics of media relations.”
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