What does successful media relations look like to you?
We all wish we had journalists lined up to publish our most recent newsworthy story, but unfortunately, that’s not how this whole PR thing works. Luckily, Nicole Rodrigues joined us for this month’s webinar: “Be a Journalist’s Go-To: How to Build a Trusted Partnership with the Media” to share how upfront work building strong relationships with journalists can both simplify and level up your media relations.
Nicole Rodrigues has over two decades in the PR industry and is the proud founder of The NRPR Group and The Young Dreamers Foundation, as well as the host of the YouTube show Beverly Hills Boss and author of the book by that same name.
Here are some key takeaways from Nicole’s presentation:
The R in ‘PR’ is for relationships
“The key word is relationships here, right?” says Nicole in her presentation. “We are here to bridge relationships between our clients and the media for ongoing results.” As we know from our relationships with friends, parents, significant others, etc., relationships require genuine care and interest for the other person’s needs. For Nicole this means considering what the media needs from you and especially considering their work environment and schedule.
We’ve all been on a date or in a meeting that feels more like an interview. Nicole advises asking the journalist questions with the goal of better understanding them as an individual. You could begin by asking them about their current and future workload, general turnaround time, and if they are open to accepting phone calls. “The more information, the better your relationship,” says Nicole. “It’s like asking someone on a first date what their preferences are. Remember that there are two humans trying to get their job done when you enter this relationship. So, remember to ask the right questions about their job and their environment. It will really help you build that relationship and help them see that you’re trying to see them.”
Get your facts straight
One of the biggest challenges for a PR pro is ensuring credibility and trust. We think of our clients, stakeholders, and the public that consume the media, but Nicole wants you to remember how crucial it is to the media that they produce and publish accurate information. Their reputation as journalists is very important to them. One of the most damaging things you can do to your relationship with the press is provide information that is not correct.
Nicole says to prepare your clients with information before media interviews, and when making big announcements, to be sure that you are delivering information at the right time and in the right context, while always being truthful. “We’re backing up stats because we understand that they [journalists] have to fact check,” Nicole says about ensuring information accuracy. “We are that middleman to make sure that on both sides, everybody’s getting what they want and that the outcome, which is the press hit—if you will—is basically something that both sides are happy with.”
Staying true to values and maintaining trust
Nicole aims to always be the PR pro that clients and the media know they can go to and trust. “At the end of the day, we build our client’s trust by giving them good counsel and by guiding them in a proper way with regards to timing and thinking about their business goals,.” says Nicole. “We work well with media to build their trust when we show interest in them, what they’re doing, what they’re covering, and how we can be a resource for them even if we’re getting them resources that aren’t our client…”
Nicole tries to treat the media as partners and friends. She knows journalists can tell when someone is being truthful and genuine in efforts to build a mutually beneficial working relationship. “Without media, what is our job?” says Nicole. “We don’t have one, it doesn’t exist. We can guide on marketing strategy and SEO and all that stuff… but without media we don’t have jobs. That is a big, big reality.”
Deliver thought out pitches—not email blasts
Nicole can’t stress enough that the human relationship aspect of media relations must always be considered. “I would much rather you send 10 to 15 thoughtful pitches a day than a blast and hope for the best,” says Nicole. “If we are looking at these people as our partners in longevity, our partners in getting things done, we’re going to think about their deadlines, we’re going to think about their beat, think about the type of outlets that we’re going to one-on-one, and we’re going to think about how we create partnerships with these people so that we can have not just one great press hit with them.”
To learn more about the right questions to ask journalists, the steps to take in developing genuine long-lasting relationships with your newfound friends and media partners, and how to simplify your ongoing media relations efforts, check out Nicole’s webinar on demand.