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5 Ways to Enhance Your Media Relations Skills

posted by:

Chauniqua Major

5 March

There’s a person behind every email you send. I know, this sounds rather elementary, but operating in our extremely transactional world could have you thinking otherwise.

Over the years, I’ve made it my personal mission to build relationships with writers that go beyond merely email exchanges. This type of relationship-building has led to some good friendships, as well as scoops on major stories that our agency otherwise would have missed out on.

After this quick read, you’ll have five approachable ways to strengthen your media relations skills to add to your toolkit.

  1. Don’t always have an agenda. Imagine if you only heard from someone when they needed something. You probably wouldn’t feel appreciated. Consider checking in with your media contacts to simply say hello. Take the opportunity to comment on a story they recently wrote or give them a story idea to consider.
  2. Become a resource. I’ve built the majority of my strong media relationships through my willingness to always help, even when it requires a little extra work on my part. It’s important to realize that it’s not always about your clients and agency. Writers are often working on multiple stories at once and frequently have to sift through hundreds of emails in a single day. If they know you are well connected and can quickly get a quote for a story or connect them with a business for a photoshoot, you’ll be viewed as a reliable asset and not another pesky publicist.
  3. Take the relationship offline. Coffee is always a good idea. Get from behind your desk and meet with as many individual members of the media as you can. It’s during these casual discussions that you can learn about what stories they are working on and build a rapport.
  4. Be personable. Be human. Take the extra five seconds to send happy birthday emails and always show gratitude with a thank-you email when a writer covers your client. Always remember that obtaining coverage is a privilege and that it’s important to show gratitude.
  5. Support their work often. This tip is the simplest way to strengthen your relationship. Block out a few minutes every week to check their social media channels to share and comment on their stories. You can do this from the comfort of your desk and easily show that you’re willing to support stories that aren’t solely about your clients.

Pro Tip: LinkedIn posts can sometimes have less engagement than other platforms like Facebook, so utilize this to your advantage by consistently sharing and commenting on the content familiar writers share via LinkedIn to stand out.

If this content was helpful, I ask that you share it with your colleagues and your social networks.