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5 tips for building media relationships and ensuring coverage from a PR veteran

by | Apr 11, 2024 | Public Relations

A PR professional’s responsibilities span everything from writing press releases, handling crisis communications, providing strategic recommendations and so much more, but their primary goal is to earn top-tier coverage for their clients.  

With that, much of a PR pro’s day is spent building relationships with media to maintain a steady stream of coverage. It’s a win-win situation for the PR professional and the journalist, as oftentimes the journalist is seeking information or sources that the PR pro can provide—approximately 55 percent of journalists get at least a quarter of the stories they publish from pitches. 

In my 11 years in the PR industry, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks on how to be effective at this. Continue reading for five tips on how to build these relationships and garner fantastic coverage for your clients.  

Consistent + personalized pitching

Journalists receive hundreds if not thousands of emails per day, and oftentimes they are irrelevant to the topics they cover. PR professionals can stand out by ensuring their pitches are hyper-focused and pertain to the writer’s recent coverage. We typically find more success when sending fewer very personalized pitches than hundreds of impersonal ones. On top of that, it’s important to be well-read in the industry you serve. As I primarily work with hospitality brands, it’s important that I am up to date on the latest travel trends and keeping an eye out for breaking news that is impacting the news cycle.  

Personalization is key

Just like above, personalization is king when trying to land your story idea, client or even just an initial meeting with a journalist. Read their recent stories, check out their Substack, LinkedIn, social channels and more and tailor your approach accordingly. Give them the chance at exclusives when possible and help by providing solid story ideas and sources for them. Additionally, extend this process when creating personal connections with media – get to know what makes them tick and apply that to all your interactions with them.  

Think in the power of threes

When presenting a story idea that might be new or a trend – try to find other examples of the news or trend to help prove your story to the media you are looking to connect with. Help them by doing the initial research to go with the story idea and present in a truly compelling matter why it matters to them and their readers.  

Creating genuine connections

PR professionals’ and journalists’ jobs would be very difficult without the partnership of the other. Everyone’s job is a little easier when we work together efficiently. Our team has found success in scheduling coffee chats with journalists to learn more about each other and get to know what everyone is working on. It helps to put a face to a name and stand out among the crowd! 

Be patient

Public relations is a long game, and oftentimes it can take weeks or months (and sometimes years!) to see results. Building relationships and conducting outreach takes time, but it is all setting the foundation for success. Journalists file away each email they receive in case a pitch might be a fit in the future. I’ve pitched someone a story that wasn’t applicable to them in that moment, but they covered it an entire year later when it was. Patience is key! 

PR professionals and journalists do their jobs best when we all work together. The more we can efficiently and successfully communicate and lean on each other, the better for everyone involved.  

Chelsea Curran
Chelsea Curran is Director of Integrated PR, Hospitality at Crowe PR.

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