October 20, 2015
/ by Susan Guillory
You want journalists to write about your business. You’ve pitched countless journalists, but nobody’s biting. You’re ready to give up on public relations altogether.
Before you do, read on. Networking could be your ticket to getting the press you’ve been clamoring for.
If you’re new to networking, you’ll love it. You simply attend business events or conferences, shake some hands and get to know other people. Now, it doesn’t instantly result in sales or press, but over time, it can.
I do so much of my work online, so it’s rare that I’m in a room full of professionals interested in the same topics as me. But it always amazes me how much can happen after meeting someone for a few minutes. In fact, networking is how I ended up writing for Cision!
If you attend events that journalists attend, you have the chance to show them what’s great about you and your company. Now, keep in mind you don’t want to attack them with an in-person pitch, but as you converse, you can engage that journalist and start a relationship that will be a lot more fruitful than a cold email.
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Journalists attend the same conferences and trade shows as you. They’re usually the ones in the back of the sessions, furiously typing away on their laptops. It’s nice when people wear name tags that will tell you where they work and what they do; you spend a lot less time barking up the wrong tree.
If you know someone who knows a journalist, ask for an introduction and offer to buy him coffee in exchange for getting to know him and his audience. Again, you don’t need to pitch him, but rather just start the relationship out. Later when you have a story to pitch, he’ll be much more amenable to it since you bonded over your love of Fantasy Football on your coffee date!
You can also find a Meetup.com group that caters to industry leaders. I wouldn’t attend a strictly-journalists meetup, or it might seem fishy, but if you see that journalists are attending a given industry event, this is your chance to connect.
Find common ground. You’ll warm his heart more if you find a similar interest than if you start droning on about your company.
Ask questions. People like to talk about themselves. This will also help you find that common ground.
Follow up. Once you meet a journalist, follow up with a polite “nice to meet you” email, then stay in touch. Follow them on social media and comment on and share their content.
Images: Ashley Sturgis, Sarah Buckley, Nguyen Hung Vu (Creative Commons)
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