Because business owners wear so many hats, they often feel that they don’t have the time necessary to devote to handling press and media relationships. Yet having a positive relationship with the media is critically important for all businesses. With proper development and nurturing, a good relationship with the media can eventually replace costly advertising campaigns, saving businesses both time and money. If you’re still wondering how to build great relationships with the media, consider the following five tips you can implement today:
Get to know journalists. To effectively get in the game, you must first know the players. Familiarize yourself with the media– which reporters regularly write about your industry? Which bloggers frequently cover events in your city? Spend your time and energy reaching out to those who are most likely to cover your story.
Perfect your elevator speech. Every business owner should have a go-to elevator speech. Take the time to write out your elevator speech– which is simply a short pitch about your business. Add it to your business’s blog so that you can easily send out a link to the press via social media.
Use social media to your advantage. If you’re not an active member of the social media world, it’s time to remedy that. You can use social media– think Twitter and Facebook– to reach out to reporters. Along with your short message, consider sending a link to that elevator speech you’ve perfected.
Be easy to reach. Reporters have deadlines to meet so being easily accessible is important. If a reporter is working on a story and needs a last-minute quote, he must know how to reach you– even after hours. Additionally, timeliness matters. Stories that are a few weeks old generally aren’t newsworthy.
Honesty matters. It might go without saying, but complete honesty should always be your policy when dealing with the media. Being less than forthcoming about certain topics or embellishing details can potentially lead to a PR disaster down the road if publicly exposed. Transparency is best when dealing with the press.
Remember: even the busiest of business owners should make it a point to focus on developing positive relationships with the media. It’s a strategic business move that, with a little bit of effort, can be a game-changer for your company.
Rhiannon Hendrickson is the founder and CEO of Orapin Marketing + Public Relations, which helps purpose-driven businesses increase awareness and attract clients and partners. She has worked with organizations of all sizes across myriad sectors to develop memorable and effective communications programs that generate awareness, engagement, and, ultimately, support for those that are making a meaningful impact.