Best Friends Forever: How to Build Lasting Relationships with the Media

By Nikki Darling, TrizCom PR

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past year as a publicist, it’s that PR is a marathon, not a race. At TrizCom, we fully stand behind this sentiment because it rings true in every aspect of PR. I’ve noticed its relevance most recently in my relationships with reporters.

Gaining a reporter’s trust does not happen overnight. Likewise, a reporter gaining our trust as PR professionals does not happen overnight. But we benefit from each other – and establishing these relationships is paramount.

The goal is to establish yourself as a reliable source for the media. You want them to call you when they need a quote or email you when they have a story and would like to include your client. You want to be the first person they think about when a relevant story crosses their desk. And you want them to take your story idea and run with it. So when these trusting relationships are established, it means success for both parties. They get good stories out of me and I end up with solid media wins for my client, knowing there’s more where that came from.

Yes, these relationships are important. These types of relationships are coveted – but they take time and a little bit of elbow grease.

It doesn’t happen with a snap of your fingers. You don’t provide one solid story and then – BAM – best friends for life. But a pattern of delivering timely stories relevant to the reporter can jumpstart that friendship.

I always take the approach of making the reporter’s life easier. Whatever I can do to make it easier for them to go click, click, click and publish a story – is absolutely necessary. Whether compiling an easy-to-download link to photos, writing an editorial-type press release or responding quickly to emails, it’s important to make it easy for the reporter to publish. Not only does this heighten the likelihood of your story getting published, but the reporter trusts your ability to deliver assets and valuable information in a professional and timely manner.

Another consideration to keep in mind is: what exactly does this reporter cover? This is such a simple yet vital step. There is no point in clogging a reporter’s inbox with press releases or content that would not interest them or appeal to their beat. Get to know what the reporter likes to cover and regularly writes about. Then make sure to send them content that appeals to those interests. They won’t run with the story if it isn’t in their wheelhouse, and it’s a surefire way to annoy them.

Last but not least, never underestimate the power of a simple follow up thank you email or card. This will show your respect for the reporter and their time. Not to mention, they will definitely remember the publicist who sent a thank you card over the ones who didn’t. It will help keep you on the top of their mind.

The bottom line? My client benefits from having regular and well-put-together pieces, and reporters can come to me knowing I will provide A+ content. These are all things I’ve kept in mind and implemented over the past year, and not to toot my own horn, but I’ve been able to make a few reporter best friends along the way.