Ways to a Reporter’s (or Blogger’s) Heart

With Valentine’s Day fresh on the brain, I was thinking about how many of the same tenets for personal friendships or romantic relationships also apply to professional relationships with reporters or bloggers. The dance of communication (or miscommunication at times) plays a major role, and there must be interest on both sides for it to work. With the ”Hallmark holiday” in mind, I offer five ways to a reporter’s or blogger’s heart…Please drop a comment on whether these work for you or if you have others to add.

1)    Show a Common Interest – Do your research and demonstrate your familiarity with their work by reading their articles/posts before you contact them. This is a simple, but often overlooked, way to earn bonus points and to show them that you’ve tailored your story idea for them rather than a mass reporter e-mail.

2)    Know Their Communication Preferences – Is a particular reporter always on Twitter but you can’t get them on the phone or to respond to e-mail? I’ve recently had success with this one by sending a Twitter Direct Message to a hard-to-reach tech reporter (after we reciprocated follows) and got interest within minutes.

3)    Stay in Touch – After the correspondence for a particular story has wrapped it may seem unnecessary to continue the dialogue, but staying on the radar requires a little TLC. Don’t be afraid to check in again in a month or two if you have another valuable market perspective to share or to see what the reporter or blogger is working on now.

4)    Offer Interesting Stories – Reporters and bloggers are always looking for a unique perspective to capture readers’ attention, so up your chances of being included by giving them a spice of controversy (enough to pique attention without being reckless) or presenting a new or different angle for a relevant topic.

5)    Follow Through – Media contacts remember which marketing and PR professionals make their jobs easier by facilitating interviews around deadlines and providing requested follow-up material in a timely manner. They also remember the ones who don’t, so deliver on your promises before closing out an interview or story.

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