As with any professional relationship, there are do’s and don’ts to be aware of when developing relationships with journalists. Take the time to research reporters or bloggers to identify those who will help you achieve your organization’s publicity goals. Once you’ve found an appropriate journalist or blogger, think carefully about how you plan to pitch your story to the individual. Avoid gimmicky or hyped-up press releases; they may catch the reporter’s attention, but for the wrong reason. Also avoid jarring language such as “urgent,” “must read,” or “extremely important,” even if you need to secure media coverage quickly.
In general, developing a rapport with journalists takes time, strategy, skill, and practice. For more information on what you can do to develop a good working relationship with the media, take a look at this video with Alissa Widman Neese, a journalist at the Columbus Dispatch. She discusses her experiences working with public relations professionals and some of the factors that made them positive.
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A Journalist’s Perspective on Pitching with Alissa Widman Neese