Are you in an on-and-off again relationship with your reporter? Check your Facebook relationship status. Does it say single, or just complicated? You’re not alone. Seriously, making and keeping a connection with a member of the media can be just as difficult as keeping things fresh in your romantic life. Here are 5 tips so you can win over your reporter this Valentine’s Day:
- KYM Know Your Media. We have all done it—found ourselves in that Facebook-stalking rabbit hole before a blind date with your roommate’s friend’s brother’s dog walker. So why not apply the same due diligence to your reporter-paramour? Get to know the ins-and-outs of his or her publication, where they matriculated, where they worked previously and, most important, what they are writing about lately. Send the reporter a congratulatory email when you read an interesting story he or she has written. Tweet the story or post it on Facebook. And, no, it need not mention your company. Another tip: find common interests with the reporter and you will have much more to talk about during that awkward first date, er, pitch.
- Make a Connection. Put in the extra effort and connect with your reporter via Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, even Snapchat. It doesn’t have to remain a strictly email-relationship, so don’t be afraid to try new things and venture into the digital realm. Following your reporter on social media will help you figure out what’s important to them in real time and will only increase your chances of getting in their story. A true communicator is never afraid to engage all possible channels to make new friends.
- Make Him or Her Feel Special. As we said above, that first pitch can be just as awkward as a first date. Just as you wouldn’t rush a romantic encounter, avoid focusing only on getting in…their article, of course. At the very least take them out to lunch or drinks first. If you must, think of it as journalistic foreplay. The aim is establishing credibility and trust to develop a mutually beneficial relationship. Don’t simply copy and paste from a previous pitch. Take a tip from Rhianna and make them feel like they’re the only reporter in the world.
- Take Note of the Little Things. Does your reporter prefer email or phone pitches? Is he or she a morning, afternoon or evening person? Know what the ground rules are so you can negotiate with your executive or client beforehand about setting up an interview. Being easy and seamless to work with will keep reporters coming back for more. They might even tip you off on an upcoming story.
- Be a Compatible Partner. As in any healthy collaboration, a relationship with a reporter requires mutual understanding and respect to blossom. So your reporter gets tied up in a breaking news story and has to cancel on short notice. Don’t fret, be patient and work with him or her to reschedule. Everyone has a bad day. Be considerate or you could end up losing a great thing.
Here’s to your media love affair being the inspiration for the next Nicholas Sparks novel-turned movie.
Mariah Measey is a senior account executive at Cognito.