As a seasoned PR firm, InChrist Communications knows how important it is to develop and maintain healthy, proactive relationships with the media to get a positive reaction from media.
Journalists are bombarded with multiple story requests each day, and if they can put a name, face and a relationship to your communications, they will be far more receptive to you.
Keep in touch with targeted media outlets that would benefit from stories regarding your particular brand. This relationship is key to ensuring your stories or press releases get the best chance at getting picked up and noticed by the media.
If you blindly send out media requests and releases to people you do not personally know, you are going to have “a hard row to hoe.” Emailing to random media lists, cold calling or pitching a story to a journalist who does not cover your beat are sure signs your story will not get any traction.
Give reporters stories that will benefit their publications. Get to know who they are and what they need – their deadline structures, personal interests in story angles and more. A more sensitive approach to their needs guarantees a better chance of their being receptive to your press releases, feature story queries and op-ed pitches – especially ones that are borderline in importance. Without a relationship, they will fall on deaf ears.
As your relationship with journalists strengthens, they will begin to look to you as a source when doing their own stories. If there is no relationship, they will not know that you are an excellent subject matter expert for their story, and you will lose a chance to make an impact for your brand and help your clients.
Keep in mind that a good relationship with the media is mutually beneficial. If your organization faces a crisis that you must manage, and the media know you, they are prone to treat you fairly and give you the benefit of the doubt. They will come to you for comments on your behalf rather than post a write-up without your thoughts.
Also, never make the media your adversary. Always keep lines of communications open and cordial – even if you disagree. And take Mark Twain’s advice to heart: “Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel.”
Palmer Holt is an award-winning communications professional with more than 25 years’ experience as former newspaper editor, “Fortune 100” company media relations executive and spokesperson, ad agency executive and PR agency owner. He served as World Missions Correspondent with the Communications Team for Cape Town 2010: The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization and is the recipient of the North Carolina Governor’s “The Order of the Long Leaf Pine” award and the Public Relations Society of America’s “Silver Anvil Award.”