When it comes to journalists, bloggers, editors and your clients, if you can’t build and enjoy successful relationships, you’re probably in the wrong job.
Relationship building in Digital PR is a lot like dating when you think about it (just go with it). The “rules” in those early stages, when courting your future soulmate, are also easy to see every day working in this industry.
It’s all about respect, communication and keeping each other interested. And like any successful relationship, it should be mutual.
Here’s a good beginner’s guide on relationship building for all you PR love birds out there…
Show you’re keen, don’t be mean
So you got the first date! What I mean is you got the first reply from a journalist or blogger, so now it’s time to show them you’re interested. Editors, bloggers and journalists get a thousand emails every day, all promising “great” content, so it’s important to try and stand out from the crowd. If you can help it, try not to do mass outreach or send one generic email out to every related editor. No one likes to feel second best, so show your chosen target some interest.
Let’s say we’re trying to get a journalist interested in an article on foster care. A good first step is to avoid picking at random. Find a journalist that has an interest in the subject or even better, one that has written about the subject before. Armed with this information your pitch is a lot more persuasive:
I was reading with interest your article on adoption statistics: www.foster.com/growthofadoption.
I work for a client called Foster client, who have written some content on foster growth in the Midlands. I think this may be of interest ………………
Straight away the recipient can see that you’ve done some editorial research rather than randomly targeting every journalist in the phone book.
The same applies to your clients too – do your research and take an interest in the company. Clients need to feel like you’re an extension of their business and not someone just doing a job.
Relationships are reciprocal
Got some great content for your client? Ready to outreach? Slow down Lothario, it’s time to put yourself in the editor’s shoes and ask yourself, “what will they be getting out of this?” Relationships are a two way street, so while you may be getting your client in a great publication (with hopefully a nice link too) editors will want to know what the benefit is for them.
In your pitch, it’s important to explain what your content is about and more importantly what value it will add to their website. Content is key and any editor worth their salt will want quality articles, so it’s up to you to prove that’s exactly what they will be getting. Do this well, build that relationship and you’ll soon find your response rate improves. The editor, blogger or journalist will know you offer quality copy that is mutually beneficial – a match made in heaven!
Follow up…don’t play hard to get!
Building better relationships with the media is a long term commitment, not a fling. It’s very rare that you’ll only talk to an editor or blogger once with editorial requests, especially one that you’ve had success with in the past. However, to get to that stage, you have to remember your manners and stay in touch if possible.
If a publication has used your content, then follow up! Let them know you’ve seen your copy on the website and thank them for it. Plus, it never hurts to suggest staying in touch regarding future content opportunities and offer any help you can too!
Remember to connect with them on LinkedIn and follow them on Twitter. In an ideal world, a journalist will advertise on social media if they’re looking for an article or expert comment and you’ll be in the box seat to help them out.
Get the basics right
Have you ever been on a date and forgotten their first name? Or worse, called them by someone else’s?! It’s not a good start. It’s the same when you’re building PR relationships too. While it would be great to phone or meet every person you want to outreach to, you will normally just use email instead. Still, now is not the time to be lazy; your email is a reflection of you, so make sure you get the basics right. Check names, job titles, URLs and your spelling and punctuation.
A future PR partner won’t be interested in your copy, no matter how good it is, if your pitch is riddled with errors and inconsistencies. Remember the importance of first impressions.
Share the love with your clients too
Remember, all of the above and more can be applied to your clients too…
*Thoroughly research the business you’ll be representing online
*Connect with your clients on social media and make them aware when you have coverage for them
*Have weekly catch ups with clients – always keep them in the loop
*Ask their opinion: What do your clients want to achieve in digital PR? Where do they want to be featured?
*Don’t just be an agency – become part of their business
Building lasting relationships in PR comes down to common sense, asking the question and basic courtesy. However, if you want to be successful in any form of PR, relationship building is vital and cannot be ignored. Who knows, it might just be the start of a beautiful relationship. Xx
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