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Getting to Know Your Journalist: 3 Tips to Connect

You wouldn’t ask out a girl (or guy) you’d never met before, so why would you pitch a journalist who doesn’t have a clue who you are? Developing and nurturing a professional relationship will drastically increase the likelihood of a reporter writing about your brand, so invest the time to get on their radar.

Engage Journalist - Newspaper

There are plenty of ways to connect with journalists, though these tips have been proven to work.

1. Interact with them on social

Social Media - Engage Reporters

It shouldn’t surprise you that 30 percent of journalists use social media to conduct research for their stories (as well as connect with readers and promote their content). They’re already there, so you should be too, following them, sharing their content and engaging directly with them.

Here are some strategies to use:

  • Share their content directly from the publication’s site. Tag the journalist.
  • Respond to comments or questions she asks on social media.
  • Retweet or share what she’s shared.

Keep in mind, while many journalists like getting pitches through Facebook or Twitter, 45 percent don’t want to be pitched there at all. Check their stream and see if there are any clues that can help you determine whether pitching them there is a good idea.

2. Support what they’re doing

Often reporters speak at industry conferences, participate in webinars, or are involved in other activities, online and off. As best you can, support those efforts. If your favorite journalist is going to be speaking at an upcoming event, tell your social network. At the actual event, if you’re able to attend, introduce yourself afterward. If you’ve connected on social media, this will be the ice breaker.

  • Tweet poignant quotes from her presentation.
  • Let your network know in advance that she’ll be at an event. Tag her.
  • Write a blog post about the event to further support her.

Once you connect, you need to pitch. Get your free guide to perfecting your pitch now!

3. Meet in person

Journalists - Engage Reporters

This tip is especially useful if you’re trying to woo local journalists. If you get the opportunity to meet a reporter who covers your beat for a local newspaper, magazine, or blog, make the most of it. Introduce yourself and tell what you do.

  • If you’ve read some of his articles, mention one you particularly enjoyed, and say why.
  • Ask what he’s working on. Show interest in his work.
  • Offer to connect him to an expert or resource if he mentions needing one, and you have a good connection for him.

Note: this is not the time to pitch your story! Ask for his business card, and stay in touch. Meeting face-to-face will help him remember you as you develop the relationship via email and social media, but it’ll take time, so be patient.

Building relationships with the media is the long game, but starting with these strategies will get you started on the right foot.

Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, where she helps her clients realize the benefits of social media, content marketing and blogging.

Image: Jon S, Jason Howie, Lisa Padilla (Creative Commons)

About Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory is the president of Egg Marketing & Communications, a marketing firm specializing in content writing and social media management. She frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Cision, Forbes, AllBusiness, Small Business Trends, The Marketing Eggspert Blog and Tweak Your Biz. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

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