Secrets to Building Relationships With Hard-to-Reach Journalists

Michael Smart, Principal, Michael Smart PR

The day before sitting down to write this, I was on the phone with a client at a Fortune 10 company. We were going over the agenda of the pitching boot camp I was preparing to deliver to some of his communications team.

As I ticked down the elements of cold pitching I was planning to teach, the client asked me a question, which was also kind of a suggestion based on his 30 years of experience.

“Do you have time to cover the idea of calling journalists or visiting them in person and finding out what they need and giving them that?”

The client couldn’t see me, but I smiled as he went on to cite several examples of how this works for him.
Relationships: Pitching at the Next Level
That’s the ultimate in media relations, isn’t it? We want to move beyond “pitching” and into organic conversations where we assist influencers to help their audiences, which in turn helps us achieve our goals.

But obviously there are obstacles to doing that; otherwise we’d all be there already. Some of these include:

•You probably don’t work at a Fortune 10 company that has reporters assigned to cover it. In most cases, these reporters readily will take your calls or visits.

•You may have grown so accustomed to digital communication that the thought of picking up the phone either makes you nervous or seems out of date. In addition, you might have younger team members who are unaccustomed to working the phones with media members.

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