“How Media Relations Got Its Groove Back”

Bummed about recent media relations lovers’ spats? As with Mr X and Ms Y from the break-up email, sometimes the relationship between reporters and PR flacks can be on-again off-again. In any healthy relationship, communication is the key. You have to listen to your partner, try to get to know them, prove you have listened and then show them you care.

Here are a few pointers on how to get your blogger groove back:

  • How often does your wife get upset if you forget your first date? Bloggers/reporters care about that, too. Did you meet them at a MediaBistro or a Lunch 2.0 party? Follow-up and stay in touch, but stay respectful and professional.
  • KNOW YOUR BLOGGER. Know what they cover. Look them up on Facebook. Get an RSS feed and eye it throughout the day. Seriously. You wouldn’t (or maybe shouldn’t) book reservations at an Indian place if you knew your spouse’s stomach couldn’t handle curry, so don’t send a video game pitch to a network security blogger.
  • You don’t tell your partner you love them just on Valentine’s Day. Maintain your relationship, not just when you have news. It also doesn’t mean just through email. You can respond thoughtfully on their posts and participate in the discussion.
  • Wow, a teddy bear that says “I love you!” So cliche. Don’t just send a blogger a press release. The best way to get heard is to remain clear and concise. Fluff-free writing and bulleted summaries serve that purpose best. Better yet: blog it!
  • Like making a date, you have to be clear on embargoes: When and what time?
  • Sometimes when your lover is ready to go, they are ready to go and you have to jump in bed at moment’s notice. Since blogs and online news run on a different cycle, you have to be available for quick follow-ups or briefings.
  • Ok, so maybe you can’t find Mr/Ms Right. There are plenty of fish in the sea. Don’t limit yourself to Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie. Look at tier two and tier three bloggers. Maybe their beat is more closely related to your product or pitch.

Traditionally, PR professionals would build relationships with reporters: meet for coffee, have the occasional social phone call, send thank you notes, etc. Today, we don’t have to have those offline, real world relations to build reporter rapport. With the advent of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn we can see casual sides, share interests (music, movies, hobbies), and engage in thoughtful conversation. But, you still have to do your homework.

We are all learning this together. Hopefully, too many witches won’t have to be burned before we get it right.


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Filed under Blogger Relations, New Media, Public Relations 2.0

9 responses to ““How Media Relations Got Its Groove Back”

  1. Chris,

    Confronted this week with n to the n PR pitches I concur with much of the above. The thing is.. as a blogger I now often get introduced / direct access to the CEO. These relationships on the phone are sometimes easy and otherwise… well I don’t really know them, so much easier to meet them in person.

    I have the same problem with many PR reps. I don’t know them face to face. I may not be ready to just add them on facebook. I don’t want their notes in my stream etc.

    I had a session yesterday.. via video conference. I have a suspicion that video conferencing could make all these exchanges many times more productive.

    It’s more personal. Both parties are closer to reading each other. I’m willing to bet that you get better feedback.

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