It can often seem stressful and complicated to bring positive press into your business, especially if you don’t already have the resources to get in contact with journalists. Large marketing firms and public relations agencies often have subscriptions to software like Cision, which is a constantly growing database of journalists. Or, they have access to their own personal connections, built and founded over years of working experience. Neither option is really practical for any new or small-to-medium business, so it becomes up to you to forge your own network of journalists.
To get started on your own contact list, here are some tips for building the best possible relationship with any local or international journalists:
- Participate online. One of the simplest and easiest ways to begin report with journalists is by keeping up with them through social media. This is ideal in particular for Twitter, where businesses, journalists, and consumers all operate simultaneously. Do some research into the local reporters in your area and see if you can find their corresponding Twitter accounts to follow. Interacting through social media is a more relaxed way of getting your business some attention without seeming pushy.
- Sign up for HaRO. Also known as “Help a Reporter Out” this is a newsletter—and a Twitter account!—from reporters who are looking for quotes, sound bites or interviews from people and/or businesses in a specific industry or background. By following this newsletter, you’ll be able to see whenever a journalist is in need, and you’ll be able to align your business as an expert in your field.
- Keep the press up to date. Whenever your business has created a new product or hit an important milestone, make sure to send out a press release or pitch to let the local reporters know about it! News outlets often like to include a handful of positive local stories, and by keeping them up to date, there’s a better chance your company will get the chance to shine! If you’re not sure how to craft a quality press release, you can read more here.
- Follow the AP Stylebook. Lastly, get a copy of the Associated Press (Stylebook) or follow them on Twitter—noticing a theme here? The AP Stylebook is considered to be a reporter’s bible, in that it holds all the most important information about editing, formatting and grammar they ever need. Journalists will appreciate you taking the time to follow AP formatting, as they’ll need to spend less time editing your work if they decide to include it.