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.
There are plenty of ways to connect with journalists, though these tips have been proven to work.
1. Interact with them on social
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.
3. Meet in person
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.
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