As you might already know, it is important to connect and get your message out to various media outlets in order to run a successful campaign. In recent years, however, many have been moving towards building a digital relationship with the press rather than a personal one.

While it is important to email out press releases and connect with newspapers and local TV stations via social media, it is also equally important to fall back on the old school in-person relationship building techniques. Here are a few tips and reminders that will help you:

1. Don’t be afraid of doing cold calls. Make a list of reporters you want to connect with. If you have a story to pitch, write up a quick 10-15 second pitch that you can do over the phone. If you don’t have a story, just give them a call and tell them in 1-2 sentences of who you are and ask how you can get story ideas out to them in the future. Don’t take up much of their time. Focus more on the introduction than keeping them on the phone.

2. Know which press organization you should email the information to and which one’s want you to call. It is important to understand and cater to individual needs as you move forward. 

3. Reach out to your local reporters when you don’t have a story to pitch. Call them or email them to compliment them on a great piece. If you have an established relationship, invite them out to a casual lunch. Building the relationship when you don’t need them will be essential in having them call you back when you do need them.

4. If you run an organization where you can offer press passes, do it! Invite them to see your exhibition or show – even if they aren’t writing a story on it. For example, if you know the food critic for your local newspaper, invite him to see the concert your organization is putting together. You want them to be thinking about you when they are looking for story ideas. 

5. Be a resource for your press. When they are looking for a story idea that might not relate to you, refer them to other organizations you partner with. If they know you have connections and great ideas, they will come to you first when they need inspiration. 

6. Finally, be mindful that you can’t control what they say. However, you can help direct the conversation by engaging them early on and regularly. 

There are two important things to remember when it comes to press outreach: 1) If you aren’t reaching out to them on a regular basis, they won’t know who you are and won’t write about you. 2) If the press is writing/talking about you but you aren’t part of the conversation, this isn’t good. You want to direct the conversation and have them (as much as you can) report what you want them to. 

Whether it is a friendly media outlet or not, you want to work on building a cordial and professional relationship with them. The press isn’t here to serve you – they serve their readers and advertisers. However, you can play a role in what they determine to report on and how they do it by maintaining open communication and developing a strong relationship with them. 

Not sure where to start? Give Uptown Studios a call!

Tania Torres
By Tania Torres