Journalists are gatekeepers – they decide what news gets covered and what doesn’t. That means when your company has news to share with the public, relationships with reporters can be a key factor in getting that news out.
Companies that fail to follow proper media relations etiquette risk damaging relationships with these gatekeepers and making it more difficult to secure news coverage in the future.
So you can avoid them, here are five ways to annoy a reporter – and tips on how to stay on the media’s good side.
1. Don’t research their coverage
Have you ever been involved in a mass e-mail where it’s just two people having a conversation back and forth about nothing that pertains to you? Annoying, right? Journalists feel the same way when companies pitch them a story that’s irrelevant to what they cover. A little research can go a long way. Read journalists’ past articles, see what they share on Twitter, and get to know them on a personal level.
2. Refuse to take “no” for an answer
Sometimes “no” means “no,” and you have to respect that. Journalists are bombarded with pitches and press releases daily, and space and broadcast time is limited. So understand that not every piece sent to them is going to result in news coverage. If you send them a story and don’t hear back from them it’s okay to follow up; just remember that if you don’t get a response that typically indicates a “no.” Harassing a reporter after they’ve clearly showed no interest will only hurt your chance of working with them in the future.
3. Ask to see the story before it’s published
In order for companies to have lasting relationships with journalists, there must be trust. After a press release is sent or a company leader is interviewed, the life of that coverage is in the journalist’s hands. If you ask to see the story before it’s published, a journalist may take that as you don’t trust them to do their job.
4. Don’t get back to them by their deadline
Journalism is deadline driven. So, when journalists express interest in covering your story, go out of your way to get them all the information they need before their deadline. This will increase your credibility and the journalist will be more likely to work with you again.
5. Complain about their coverage
So, they covered your story and you don’t like how it turned out? If there are factual inaccuracies, then your PR agency or in-house communications team can tactfully request a correction. However, if you simply didn’t care for the quote they used or they mentioned your competitor in the story, complaining will only discourage the reporter from working with you again.
Are you guilty of these mistakes?
Building relationships with the media takes time and hard work, but it’s key to getting news coverage. Hiring a skilled PR agency or developing a strong in-house communications team can help you develop positive relationships with reporters that will boost your company’s visibility and reputation.