This can be done on any platform, but we most often see it on Twitter since that is where a lot of reporters have a presence.
- Retweet their stories (they love when their content is shared, as they are measured on clicks)
- Comment on their stories: ask them questions, provide your own point of view
- Join information conversations whether it’s about food, culture or even clothing! It’s about starting a conversation beyond professional expertise.
CREATE SHARED EXPERIENCES
Real relationships are not built online. Do your best to create a shared experience as this is where bonding takes place. You can get an idea of the types of activities they like from monitoring social channels or even their writing.
- Coffee: If you are in the same city (or visiting their city) this is a safe, quick and information way to meet somebody for the first time.
- Drinks: Do your homework and make sure they drink alcohol before you ask. A lot of reporters get turned off by the assumption that they like to “go out for drinks.”
- Meal: While a tad more formal, reporters have to eat too. Make sure you are upfront with your intentions. If you don’t know them, explain why you’re interested in getting to know them – show why you are a valuable person for them to get to know as well (for example, if your product/service is in a space that they cover)
- Activities: Per your research, do they like the outdoors? Offer a hike. Are they really into music? Perhaps there’s a live music show coming up that is low key and inexpensive.
- Group Hangouts: If you see on Facebook or LinkedIn that you have mutual friends, if appropriate, try to orchestrate a group hangout or activity. If appropriate.
BE A VALUE ADD
How would you feel if the only time you ever heard from somebody was when they needed something? You’d probably feel a little put off. It’s no different with the media. Help them do their job!
- Be a resource: As a subject matter expert, you have resources at your disposal: your clients, employer, your network, yourself. Offer your resources and connections to journalists if you know they could provide value. For example: if you know they are working on a specific story and you have a resource for them (even if not your client), introduce them!
- Educate them: Although they write about a specific industry daily, they can’t possibly read everything on the Internet. If you come across an article or study that would be of interest to them – share it! (Pro-tip, do this on Twitter as well so their followers can also see it)
STAND YOUR GROUND
This may sound silly, but it’s about mutual respect. If you are pursuing media coverage, chances are there will be a time when you get unfavorable press. Being aggressive and angry will not help, and there are ways to handle this with grace so that you do not burn relationships. Remember that you cannot control what a reporter writes — reporters are able to report on whatever angle they’d like to, free speech. If something is factually incorrect (Data, figures, names), you are allowed to ask for a correction. However, if it is subjective, you’ll want to tread lightly. When you contact them, explain that you understand why they wrote their story, but you’d like the opportunity to clarify a few points so they can better understand for next time. This is why it’s very important to stay on-message!