Is it important for the media to like their PR contacts? I’m not talking about getting invited to their wedding or ski house in Vermont (though that is one indicator). I’m talking about genuine “like” – as in, I can trust that person and I don’t mind having dinner with her. So I submit that Yes, it is important for a journalist to like you. We (as sober humans) gravitate to kindness, humor, intelligence, trustworthiness. While a journalist may have no choice but to “deal with you,” it certainly makes for more pleasant and effective media relations when the journalist feels you’re the real deal. That you’re not just calling on him in times of (desperate) need. How do you know if a journalist doesn’t like you? Here are six key indicators:
1. The reporter returns your call – but after you’ve gone home, to ask you to take him off your media list.
2. You email the reporter a story idea and she emails you back: um, who are you?
3. The reporter refuses to have you present during an interview with your senior executive .
4. She tweets a negative comment about you – not your company.
5. The reporter calls you a flack.
6. You invite the reporter to your Vermont ski house, all expenses paid for him and his wife, to be used at anytime, and he declines, every time you ask.
Think about your relationship with your media contacts and ask yourself, am I someone they wouldn’t mind being in the same room with? Not all journalists are welcoming and/or forgiving, but if you’re sensing of trend of being dismissed, then it’s time to make time for relationship-building.
On Twitter: @dianeschwartz