Successful entrepreneurs know their key to success is to build solid relationships with customers. They understand that winning customers and building loyalty isn’t an overnight process and that maintaining strong, long-lasting relationships requires a consistent effort.
The same goes for building successful relationships with journalists.
Unfortunately getting through to a journalist and pitching a story is no easy task. This is why many of us resort to hiring a PR firm to do the job.
What you don’t realize is that you can get a MUCH better ROI from pitching press than any PR firm you hire. If you’ve built solid relationships with clients you can build them with journalists as well.
If you’re never pitched a journalist before or you’re done some pitching, here are five quick tactics you can use right now to get a response from a journalist next week:
1. Find an ‘Ask from A Journalist’ and Provide a Quote
There are a TON of newsletters which go out every single day where journalists ask entrepreneurs specific questions. Your job is just to answer these. It’s super simple and it works!
Here is an example:
There are a TON of newsletters that go out every single day where journalists ask entrepreneurs specific questions. Your job is just to answer these. It’s super simple and it works!
Here is an example:
ProfNet and HARO (Help A Reporter Out) are the most popular newsletters with queries like these in the US.
Every day these newsletters send out an email with a list of specific asks and requirements from different journalists. Sources who fit their requirements can jump in and leave a response.
Find an ask from a journalist you can answer and just respond to it!
2. Use Quora To Kickstart Journalist Relationships
In any relationship, whether it’s romantic, brand & customer, or sales, the personal touch is the best way to let your prospects know that they are a priority. This is one of the basics of customer service that transcends any profession, and the sooner you learn that the sooner you’ll be able to build meaningful relationships with journalists.
If you’re looking for a platform to nurture these relationships, Quora is the top Q&A place on the internet and is a great way to add value to a reporter and strike up a conversation with them. How? Here’s how I do it:
The basic process is:
- Find an article from a journalist which you can comment on and offer valuable insights around.
- Use this article to answer a question on Quora and ask the journalist to comment on it.
When you do this, you’re essentially promoting the journalist on a platform you don’t own for free, which builds up goodwill with the reporter.
3. Write Guest Articles on Those Targeted Publications
Look, guest blogging purely for getting backlinks is spammy and a waste of time. But guest blogging for influence in order to build relationships with journalists should still be a part of your strategy.
Essentially, guest blogging enables you to reach an audience outside your network where you can reference your journalist and build credibility with them.
Try out these different avenues to “touch” a journalist, and slowly but surely build trust with them just as you would when building client relationships, because in the end-the quality and strength of your relationships determine the course of your success.
4. Share Content Data and Insights
Journalists live and breathe content, and if you can direct them to content that is relevant and useful to their needs, they’ll welcome it.
The last startup I worked at I used a newsjacking technique to find topics currently trending with journalists and shared some insights with them about these topics.
Some quick research on their public profiles should provide you with their interests, or check their recent stories to see what kind of topics they’ve written about. Sending them content that is relevant and useful goes a long way and builds credibility and trust.
Journalists love data, especially if it can be used to support something they’ve written about in the past. So if you or your organization has some unique data or insights, sharing it with a journalist is a great way to get an “in”.
The way to make this work is to tie the data to something they recently covered in an article. For example, if you’re pitching a journalist with a focus on medical software, it could be beneficial to pitch them a chart breaking down different types of medical software.
Use a recently updated chart with relevant data. This is called data storytelling. Below is a great example of how TechnologyAdvice does this on their pages:
Don’t have data of your own? Easy, you can create unique content specifically for the journalist by creating unique polls they could plug into their recent articles to spur engagement. You can also share user-generated content, like LinkedIn or Twitter polls with a minimum of 100 poll responses. Getting a pulse on social media is an easy way to get original data.
5. Use Bullet Points to Tell a Story
It’s unreasonable to think all of your PR outreach will be “warm”. There will undoubtedly be times where you’ll have to cold pitch. In this case, you need to make your email short, concise, and compelling enough for a journalist to get through it and consider placing your story.
One of the best ways to do this is by using bullet points to summarize your pitch. I provide an example of this below:
We just launched a HIPAA compliant VoIP that allows healthcare providers and their patients to safely and securely exchange medical information. HIPAA-compliance is extremely important in a time where telehealth is on the rise. This is because:
- According to HIPAA Journal, between 2009 and 2019, there have been 3,054 healthcare data breaches involving more than 500 records.
- Those breaches have resulted in the loss, theft, exposure, or impermissible disclosure of 230,954,151 healthcare records.
- That equates to more than 69% of the U.S. population.
Why does this strategy work? Because a journalists’ inbox is cluttered every day with cold press releases. They don’t have time to read through all of them, which is why it’s your job to extract the most important information and give it to them upfront.
Over To You
There you have it. You already have what it takes to build relationships with journalists, you don’t need a PR firm to do it, you can start right now and do it for free!
Remember, getting good PR isn’t rocket science. All you need is a little craftiness, personalization, and providing value to your journalists. It’s all about making their job easier and meeting them more-than-halfway with good content. If you can manage to do this, you’ll easily stand out from the crowd of poor emails in their inbox.
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