One of the most important aspects of media relations and spreading the word about your company via press releases and pitches is to build relationships with the media. In particular, getting to know industry-related magazine journalists can really give you the kind of credibility and traction that will result in regular pick-ups of your press releases.
Know your niche or industry
Every niche or industry is unique, but most will have at least one or more websites, magazines, newsletters, or other publications designed to keep industry professionals in the know. From engineering to pet grooming, chances are there will be at least a couple of media outlets worth pursuing.
Start by making a list of all of them. Then look up the publications online. If they are paid publications, consider taking out a subscription.
Know the key players
Within each periodical, there might be one, or several journalists who cover the kind of information, products, and services that you wish to spread the word about. Study each publication carefully, especially if it is a paper publication. Check the names of the editors.
Look at the stories and see which are most similar in relation to what you do. Note down the names of the authors of those stories.
Check the contact information online or in the periodical. Chances are the person’s email address will be listed. Add that to the data you have collected.
See if you can find their profiles on social media. Are they very responsive to others, or do they just tend to post content without interacting?
Who engages with their content? Click on the names of those who comment on Facebook or LinkedIn, for example, to learn more about them. Are they media professionals too? Or are they ordinary people interested in your niche or industry?
Assessing their work
Once you have a list of top journalists, look over their most recent work. Do they have the same point of view as you? Correct facts and details? Or do you have information that can give them a whole new perspective, or set them straight on the facts?
This is also an important step in forging a relationship with industry journalists because you are showing you are in the know and have also taken the trouble to learn more about their work rather than just grabbing their email address and trying to pitch stories to them.
Knowing their schedules
Magazines will have one set of deadlines. Industry journals will have another. Newspapers, website, and blogs will also have their own schedules. The important thing is to try to detect a pattern (or just ask) when their deadlines are and what kinds of stories they wish to have pitched to them.
Respecting how busy they are is important. But helping them to meet their deadlines can also be important and allow you to build a closer relationship with them.
Smart journalists are always looking for reliable, intelligent sources in their particular industry. You should have accomplishments, an interesting back story or mission statement for your business, and obvious expertise that makes you worth paying attention to. A great website or blog full of interesting content is one way to prove you have what it takes to be a good point of contact.