4 Tips to Building a Better Relationship with the Media

Relationships are key in our daily lives. For those of us who have chosen PR as our career, building relationships with the media is our lifeblood. Positive inclusions in a newspaper, magazine or on a key industry blog can help put our clients name on the map, as well as increase their revenue. As PR professionals, it is our job to make this happen.

But, you need to understand that generating positive coverage for your client isn’t about blasting mass emails, press releases or untargeted pitches out aimlessly. In reality, most journalists will tell you that there is nothing more frustrating than finding their inboxes filled with irrelevant pitches from PR professionals. To avoid this, don’t repeatedly spam them with information they can’t use. You need to be a reference that they can come to for help and to make this happen, you need to build a strong, ongoing relationship.

Here are four tips from my experience in working with journalists that will help you to succeed in building a strong relationship with the media:

Be Sure You Understand Their Outlet

Before developing your pitch, you need to first understand the outlet you’re pitching. As I mentioned before, nothing can be more irritating to journalist than to receive off-base pitches while they are under the pressure of meeting a tight deadline. As PR professionals, we must understand each of the outlets that we work with, as well as how they are structured and their timelines for story development. Take the time necessary to familiarize yourself with the outlets and stories that your targeted journalist typically covers to ensure that your client is relevant. Fully understanding who and what they cover will go a long way towards building a long-term relationship.

Always Personalize Your Pitches

No one likes impersonal communication. Make sure that you take that extra couple of minutes with every encounter you have with them to personalize your interaction. I highly recommend that you read up on what the journalist has recently covered and incorporate this you’re your pitch or general follow up. Keeping your pitch personal will let the journalist know that you understand their coverage area and is key to building a relationship. Also, every interaction doesn’t need to be a pitch. I’ve found that just checking in with a journalist to let them know that they recently wrote an interesting article can be very beneficial in the relationship building process.

Don’t Bait and Switch

Journalists are always on deadline and they don’t have time to play games. If you pitch a story, or source, that they are interested in, be sure you can deliver. Nothing can sour a relationship with a journalist faster than failing to meet their expectations by promising an interview with your clients CEO and then having a marketing director on the call. The same goes for story pitching. If a journalist goes into a call expecting one thing, and you turn around and talk about something completely different, chances are you might not get a second opportunity with the journalist.

Saying Thank You Goes a Long Way

After a story featuring your client appears, don’t forget to say thank you. This doesn’t have to be a long-winded, gushing letter. It could be a sentence or two that lets the journalist know that you appreciate the time and effort he or she put into the piece. This simple act of appreciation can be the difference between continued coverage with a journalist or not. Whenever a journalist covers one of my clients, I always send a short note thanking them for their time and offering the client up as a source for future pieces. This shows appreciation for their hard work and I for one know that it’s nice to be acknowledged.  I’m sure they do too.

Those are a few recommendations that I have from my personal experience. Do you have any other tips that work for you? How do you build strong relationships with the media? Please leave your thoughts below.

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37 Comments on “4 Tips to Building a Better Relationship with the Media”

  1. Honeydog Says:

    I’m not sure why this particular Post is here, but, I read it, and, what the heck.. I’ll say something. I believe that the same type of general Rule-of-Thumb Techniques in each of the above can apply to and are necessary to how we should conduct ourselves in just about any situation in Life where it is important enough to ensure smooth, comfortable, and successful relationships with any Professionals with whom we want, need, or intend to deal on an on-going basis.

    (Why the heck IS this here??)

  2. Kreuzer33 Says:

    Ummm….it’s my blog and I wrote the post 🙂

    Working with the media is what I do for a living and I’m sharing tips with readers…

  3. One Op Says:

    Saying thank you goes a long way. Thank you John! Saying I’m sorry for hurting someone, deliberately or not, also goes a long way.

  4. Kreuzer33 Says:

    Done and done 🙂

  5. Kreuzer33 Says:

    Both are correct One Op 🙂 Treat others as you’d want to be treated yourself!

  6. zelda Says:

    thank you John!!!!!

  7. Honeydog Says:

    Oh hell John, please Delete mine too (ref 3rd Comment). Zelda got me nervous.

  8. One Op Says:

    LOL, man you sure have it easy John, you can slap just one word
    on the board “done” and all the bad, sad and had is taken away.
    Love it.

  9. zelda Says:

    real done……….hahahahahaha

    (one op,honeydog..????)re: done

  10. zelda Says:

    Hi again John,,,,,,can you delete my Sept 29 request too,,,,,,so there is no reference left?
    Sorry to be such a pain………egad.

  11. Kreuzer33 Says:

    Fine…Should I delete this one too so there is no reference to the other one 😛

  12. zelda Says:


  13. Honeydog Says:

    Okay. Thanks from me too, John ( Now how ’bout YOU?.. Sure you don’t want to Delete your own Post on Shhhhhhh, you know what?) LOL!

  14. Kreuzer33 Says:

    Nah. Why should I be afraid…I have no fear…except snakes! 🙂

  15. zelda Says:

    OOOOHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhh,,,,,,,,,,,,,we have THAT in common John,,,,,,,,,,snakes put me in a near coma. Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaawd.

  16. zelda Says:

    Honeydoggie………uh……….it’s a weird word………..sometimes I don’t use the bump above my neck and sometimes I do.

  17. Snake Says:

    Hi YA ALL!

  18. Kreuzer33 Says:

    Thanks OneOp. I mean Snake…

  19. Honeydog Says:

    John.. I was KIDDING!

    Zelda.. Huh? I don’t understand “it’s a weird word”…

  20. One Op Says:


  21. Kreuzer33 Says:

    Yep I know…hence the tongue sticking out face! 🙂

  22. zelda Says:

    it’s an obvious typo on my part honeydog. (WORLD.)

  23. Honeydog Says:

    Well, it COULD’VE been a “weird word”.. I just couldn’t figure-out which word was WEIRD!! (HaHaHaHaHa!)

  24. Honeydog Says:

    So, I guess everybody knows Amanda Knox is Free.
    I watched the Verdict being read live (couldn’t understand a word— not even from the Translater (LOL). Don’t know why, but I found myself on the edge of my seat, and I almost thought she was going to throw-up… before, during AND after. It was all pretty Intense. Saw her on the News tonight making a brief statement to the Media waiting at the Airport when she landed back home in Seattle. She was clearly still very Emotional, and, when she sat down, the look on her Face was that of a confused and “detached” Patient in a Psych Ward. That girl is definitely going to need some Therapy. I hope her Family realizes it. I know I’ve said before that, for the longest time, I didn’t know what to think about her Innocence or Guilt, but I’ve listened to the Coverage of the complete Story now, all the Evidence, how the Case played-out the first time, and the doings of that crazy (literally) Prosecutor who is currently in Legal trouble, and, I now do honestly feel that she was wrongfully Accused, so, I’m glad she was Acquitted.

  25. zelda Says:

    I think she is nuts……..and guilty . I will spare you my blow by blow opinion.Suffice to say the guy driving the get away car is deemed as guilty as the guy who physically robbed the bank,
    It’s all horse shit and we are goofy as hell in this country for falling for a cheesy story by some”young photogenic” murderer.
    We are lost……………..

  26. One Op Says:

    She said she was with someone when it happened, he said he was not with her. Sooooooo we have a she said, he said. Why would he not stand behind her if she was with him. Doesn’t make sense.

    By the way, has the guy been released also? Or is he still found guilty?

  27. zelda Says:

    They were sentenced together so as I understand it he will be released too.He kept his mouth shut because she was more apt to get them both off because of all the hype around her.
    They both lied,,,,,,,,
    Boy we sure forget the different stories these murderers come up with don’t we>?
    The victim is victimized over and over and over,,,,,,,,no justice at all.Damned stupid people in this country,,,,,,,,and elsewhere for that matter.
    WE NEED TO FOCUS ON THE VICTIM AND THE HORRORS OF HOW THEY DIE! IMO. My gawd……….why is this not a given?

  28. Honeydog Says:

    You know that I surely do respect both your Opinions. Would never argue over what we each feel or believe.
    I at least wanted to tell OneOp that the reason Amanda’s Boyfriend said what he said and didn’t stand behind her was because she broke-up with him and he greatly Resented her for it…. and the guy who is currently still in Prison there was the one who fled Italy immediately after Meredith was killed, and whose DNA was found all over everything, including Meredith’s genital area. When he was Captured, he was the one who Confessed to being with her, and never actually Implicated Amanda or her Boyfriend. Many other Details and Evidence Errors and Corrections were brought to light since the first Trial, and it was also astounding to hear the Public Statement of a British Reporter who was himself another Target of the mentally-deranged Prosecutor who created the “Sex Game” Story, chasing him down on the Street, arresting him, throwing him in Jail, and accusing him of being a “Spy” and a “Murderer”. You know how I hate most Defense Attorneys for what they do, but I’ve learned that Amanda’s case was not the first in Italy for which this sick and ruthless Prosecutor has both gone-after innocent individuals and Fabricated much of, and even many of the Itallian people themselves supported her, being aware of his devious and crooked methods. In the end though, despite our differences in her Judgement, I suppose, as with alot of other News and Stories and Cases we’ve discussed, only God and those individuals involved know the Truth, and only He, and they, will deal and have to Live with it.

  29. Honeydog Says:

    You surely both know that I respect your Opinions. Would never argue over what we each Feel or Believe.
    I at least want to tell *OneOp* that the reason Amanda’s Boyfriend said what he said and didn’t stand behind her is because Amanda broke-up with him and he greatly resented her for it…. and, the guy who still remains in Prison there was the one who fled from Italy immediately after Meredith was killed, and it was his DNA which was found all over everything, including Meredith’s genital area. When he was Captured, he Confessed to being with her and never actually implicated Amanda or her Boyfriend. There were alot of other Details and Evidence and Forensics and Errors and Corrections brought to light since the first Trial, and it was also astounding to hear the Public Statement of a British Reporter who was himself another Target of the mentally-derranged Prosecutor who created the “Sex Game” Story, having been chased-down on the Street, Arrested, thrown in Jail, and accused of being a Murderer, for no reason at all, other than being the “Prey of the Day”. This man went through similar hell at the Hands of this sick and ruthless Prosecutor whose devious and crooked methods are even Protested by many of the Itallian people there themselves, and many of them strongly supported Amanda, being aware of his ways and what he is capable of. You know how I hate Defense Attorneys for what they do and stand-for, but I’ve learned that Amanda’s case is not the first in that Courtroom in Italy for which Stories were Fabricated, and innocent individuals— especially Foreigners— have been his objects of personal Indulgence. In the end though, despite our differences in our Judgement of her and the Outcome, I suppose, as with other News and Stories and Cases we’ve followed and discussed, only God, and those individuals involved, know the Truth. I certainly don’t claim to. And only He, and they, will ultimately deal with it and have to live with it.

  30. Honeydog Says:

    (Don’t ask me why… I have no idea what the hell happened up there. Sorry for boring you twice!)

  31. zelda Says:

    LOL!……..nice try Honeydog……..Your reasoning looks pretty good. Bottom line for me is that the hype can go either way.

  32. zelda Says:

    Mf t.f xrape ,rb-y ,rptmmmmmmmmmmm……………………….BFMTL/RT

  33. One Op Says:

    Zelda what did you say???? I respect other opinions, expecially since I have not followed this case except what has been on media.
    However, it seem so odd that a boyfriend, broke up or not would be so cruel about it as to see his former girlfriend go down for murder. I really believe there is more to this case overall that will never be out to public. For the other accused, it also seems odd that he would lit his appeal ride on Amandas. I really like to know if there was any payout, bribery, ya know, that kind of stuff.
    Be good to each other, elections coming up. lol

  34. One Op Says:

    Obviously I can’t spell! Maybe that’s why I am misunderstood.
    Ya think? lol

  35. zelda Says:

    LOL………….my keyboard went flooey on me,,,,,,couldn’t make a word to save my neck,,,,,,hahaha that’s a first!
    I finally had to shut off the pc and restart,,,,now it works!
    I thought for a minute it might be YOU One Op putting the whammy on me,,,,,,,hahahahaha,,,,,,,,,,,I had the bag of rocks ready.

  36. Honeydog Says:

    OneOp, I agree (“more to this Case…”
    Just like Casey Anthony, the real Story, the Truth, is something known only to those within the “Behind the Scenes” circle. Sometimes, many years later, we turn on our TV and hear, “New shocking discoveries in the case of (so and so) back in…”, and other times it quietly fades away and is lumped in with a million other Headline Stories of the past, never to be mentioned or thought of again. Wouldn’t it be something to be able to know everything, the way it really is or was, about the People and News Stories and Cases we follow and discuss, and have a clear-cut Answer to all the Mysteries… but more often than not, we’re left hanging, no choice but to Wonder, accept that it’s all we’re going to get, and we’re forced to move on. It Hits, gets your Attention, gets you Interested and Involved, and then Poof, it’s gone, and you never know. With everything we take-in on a daily basis— from Politics to Hollywood to Murders and everything in between— so much seems to remain “Unfinished”. Makes one’s Existence amidst Stories like this, and the News in general whirling around them these days, feel very Unsettled.

    (P.S: So when are the three of us going to hit the Campaign Trail?? Anybody have a Horse and Cart we can use to get started?! (LOL!!!)

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