Beyond PR

Sep 09, 2016

3 Ways to Improve Your Relationship With Journalists

how-to-improve-your-journalist-relationshipsWhen you have news to share, you distribute it as far and wide as you possibly can. You share on social, write a blog post, budget money for an ad and more. But none of these tactics can result in the benefits you receive from earned media coverage.

Earned media is highly valuable in reaching today’s distracted audiences; in fact, 81% of senior marketers said that earned media was more effective than paid.

But how can you target the right journalists and encourage them to share your story?

It starts with learning about journalists’ needs, habits and preferences. Once you know who is covering your industry and what they expect, you can provide them with the information they want and build a strong rapport.

Here are three ways you can better connect with journalists and increase the likelihood that they will cover your brand’s news.

Practice Moderation

You may think that sending as many pitches as you can would be the best route to go, but no journalist likes receiving a generic, mass pitch. One tailored pitch sent to the right journalist is worth way more than 1,000 pitches sent to the wrong ones.

Start by researching the journalists making an impact in your industry. Search by topic to see what they’re writing about and look at information about their audience to ensure they are engaged and match your target audience.

Once you’ve identified your target journalists, learn their pitching preferences. According to Cision’s 2016 Global Social Journalism Study, email is still the method most journalists prefer when being contacted by PR professionals.

But every journalist is different, and what may work best for one journalist could be wrong for another.

Pay Attention

Journalists are using social media for more and more, including sharing content, networking and finding sources. If you listen in on journalists’ social conversations, you may be able to find valuable opportunities for your brand.


Start by following your target journalists and commenting on their posts. Look for ways to engage them and join the conversation, even if it doesn’t mean your brand will get coverage. Build rapport now, so then when it’s time to pitch, the journalist will recognize your name.

Journalists may even post on social asking for sources for a story they are writing. If the story makes sense for your brand, respond and offer information or a quote. Because you’ve built a solid foundation ahead of time, the journalist will be more likely to respond to you.

Be a Good Source

Cision’s 2016 Global Social Journalism Study found that 42 percent of journalists consider PR professionals to be a main source of information, but 47 percent see experts as more important sources.

Make sure journalists see you or your brand as experts in your field. When providing information for a journalist or sending your pitch, include all the relevant information you can. That includes contact information, product/service information, photos, videos and answering the who, what, where, when, why and how.

If you can position yourself or your brand as a good source now, journalists may come back to you when another story opportunity arises in the future.

Author Maria Materise is a content marketing specialist for Cision. Formerly a copywriter, she enjoys creating content that excites and inspires audiences. She is an avid reader, movie trivia geek, Harry Potter fanatic and makeup junkie.

1 Comments on Blog Post Title

­ Ford Kanzler 11:30 EDT on Sep 12, 2016

Useful but its all been well-understood in the professional PR realm for decades. Certainly bears repetition for those "content marketers" who are newly-arrived and/or untrained in media relations. Ask any half-dozen media pros and they’ll tell you the same.
’Suggest the underlying concept is, "Treat media pros like people you’d like working with, not like tools."
PS: "Earned media" is just another one of those recently-invented terms to sound like something new. It been called "publicity" since the early 20th Century.

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