Yes, it’s true what they say – a significant part of the communications field is about building relationships. Having a strong relationship with media is not just important but can be essential to a successful media relations campaign.
While most interaction with press occurs through emails and phone calls, grabbing a quick coffee, lunch or even drinks with media friends can be a great way to nurture your relationships and get to know them better.
Here are some things to keep in mind before grabbing a coffee with press:
- Remember, this isn’t the time to pitch your story – it’s a casual conversation.
- Take the time to ask questions about what they’re working on, what their interests are, and what their schedule is like in the next couple of months. Gauge their interest, and chat about upcoming projects you think they’d be interested in.
- If you’ve read some of their recent articles or blog posts, or follow them on social media, show interest in their work. Mention an article or post you particularly enjoyed and say why.
- Chat about things besides work – meeting face-to-face is a great way to get to know them on a more personal level.
- Remember journalists and bloggers have multiple deadlines and busy schedules. Don’t let the lunch or coffee chat run too long, and be cautious of setting up something after hours or during key deadlines.
- Nurture the relationship – a face-to-face meeting will help them remember you and reach out to you if they’re looking for a subject matter expert, or are interested in a product review. Check in once in a while and nurture the relationship.
- Keep in mind – some journalists can’t let you pay for lunch or even a coffee because their company policy won’t allow it. Don’t push it if this is the case.
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