Like the relationship between our favorite medical professionals, Meredith Grey and Christina Yang, everyone has or wants their person. Whether it’s your best friend, significant other, brother or sister, each of us have someone in our corner that we can rely on, go to with news, or if we’re ever in need. In a similar fashion, for those us of working in a public relations agency, we need to have our people in the media.
Every day we are in contact with dozens of journalists that we most likely have never met before. Speaking with them day in and out, yet rarely putting a face to the name. For most aspects of life, this is a strange concept, however, in our line of work meeting people electronically or over the phone is a norm. To help change the image of publicists strictly as cold callers, it’s best to break the mold and make relationships with the people we talk to daily. Here’s some tips to help you begin!
- Value face time
In a world addicted to social media and screen time, it’s hard to make a slot in our schedules for some old-fashioned face-to-face meetings. To differentiate yourself from the crowd, reach out to some editors you speak with most frequently and see if they have time to grab some breakfast or a drink. These meetups act as a way for them to identify your name out of the hundreds of emails they get daily and really hear what you have to say. Bonus tip: Always be sure to ask what works best for their schedule and be ready to accommodate! These people have extremely demanding days, as well as a personal life. ?
- Build trust
Considering journalists can view publicists as salespeople, you should use these interactions to build trust and not just pitch them throughout the entire meet-up. Ask about their life, what they value and have interest in versus selling them on your clients the entire time. It’ll help you build an actual relationship.
- Embrace feedback
Since we typically throw information and requests at them in our day-to-day emails, this is the time to ask for feedback and information that can help you do your job better. As questions that make you sound smart and respectful of their times and needs. How do they best like to receive information? What neighborhood and time in the day typically works best for them to attend an event? Do they prefer follow up emails, or will they get back to you in their own time? When they share what they have to say, listen and report it back to your entire team so they see what they said mattered.
- Gift a good freebie
Like the rest of us, editors also appreciate a good freebie. Before meeting with someone, look at their social media channels to see if they have any favorite things that you might be able to bring along. Since I work at a lifestyle public relations firm, I’ll look to see if they have any favorite foods or items that my clients may have available to bring along. This shows I took interest in them, and gets our client a little visibility.
Overall, remember, these are people we work with daily. Taking the time to get to know someone can not only make your professional lives more fulfilling, you might also make a friend in the process. It’s part of the fun!