Topic: Book Club

Robin Hood: How Have You Connected With The Press?

Posted by Ann H. on 500 Points
Developing "Media Savvy" is one of Katya Andresen's tenets of Robin Hood Marketing. If we understand the professional challenges reporters face and help them cope with them, business owners and marketers can gain a big media-relations advantage. Focus on building solid relationships with a select group of journalists, Katya says, and then pitch them newsworthy stories.

So here's my question: What ways have marketers used to connect with the press successfully? How do you find the right people to connect with, and then how do you build those important relationships?

Any advice? Tips? Ideas? Suggestions? Speak up!

I'm looking forward to hearing your responses.
Moderator Note: This discussion refers to the book Robin Hook Marketing by Katya Andresenn (topic: non-profit marketing). Click the title to learn more. Then join the conversation. We'd LOVE for you to participate!
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  • Posted on Accepted
    Ann: while I'm not a media relations professional (I stick to the marketing side), one thing I've done with media that I want to befriend is to send them story angles on topics that I've found out about early on that have nothing to do with my work. In this sense, I'm independently just pointing them to potential stories where I have no investment of their being placed.

    I believe that helps build trust or, at the very least, the start of a relationship. So, should I ever have a client that wants a story placed I can then call on that reporter since I've already worked to help him/her before.

    To find the "right" reporter you have to do a bit of homework, especially at larger press outlets as every professional handles a different "beat."
  • Posted by connors on Accepted
    Hi Ann,
    Find the reporters who target the area(s) you are interested in - the ones that make sense for your market. Keep a file of the articles and stories that you particularly respect (how they are written/reported, etc.) ...

    You will find that certain reporters and people in the press will will start to stand out to you. Begin to personalize your releases as much as possible to those people (briefly referring to articles that they previously covered, etc.) It's perfectly fine to call a reporter to give him/her a "heads up" that something interesting is coming their way. You may even want to offer an "exclusive" story, if appropriate.

    If the reporter is within your region, offer to take him/her to lunch! If you are providing valuable information about your field (their interest) that's a great way to strike up a relationship. As in any other type of relationships, knowing the "face" behind the name.

    Remember that reporters are on very tight schedules and are bombarded by everyone! Only contact the press with "newsworthy" information. That way, when something comes from you, they know it's going to be worthy of their time and they'll pay attention. They'll appreciate you, because they are always looking for good stories.

    One other thing: don't get discouraged: You may contact them 5 times and only get covered once, but keep on keepin' on! That one story could be worth gold.

  • Posted by connors on Member
    Two other things to add:
    Keep testimonials on file for future use. Testimonials are always great to help tell a story and I'm sure you'd have a plethora of people ready to help you do so.

    One final comment: mbarber is absolutely right. The greatest credibility is when you develop relationships with the press where they are calling you to give your take on an industry trend, etc. You are then crowned an expert in the field, causing the ripple effect.
  • Posted on Accepted
    All good advice above.

    A key to remember is to try to be there for the press, even when it's not an opportunity for exposure specifically for your company. And try to put yourself in the reporter's mind -- it's not about getting across information that's best for your company, but about getting out information that's of intetrest and useful to the reporter's readers, viewers or listeners. When you can blend thoe two perspectives is when you'll score with publicity -- and also building a relationship with that reporter.

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