The importance of relationships
The key premise of Public Relations is building relationships. It is the very foundation upon which everything else is built. Right from creating pitches to sending out press releases, creating a brand narrative to reaching out to the right audiences. At the very heart of this creation of relationships with the world, is your relationship with the people who carry your word forward. In other words, it is your relationships with members of the press/media, that truly matter.
Journalists are not simply resources. Building professional relationships ensures that:
- Your stories are noticed,
- That you can be depended on for news,
- And, that you are a credible source and a subject matter expert to be called on for quotes etc.,
- Also, that you are as important to them as they are to you.
Something as simple as a thank-you note goes a long way in cementing a relationship. It is not very unlike the personal relationships that we nurture.
Challenges of finding your match
One of the most difficult parts of PR is identifying the right journalist to cover your news.
There are still those amongst us that can recall (albeit with a shudder) the days when we pored over spreadsheets with names and contact details of every journalist. We painstakingly combed through them, searching for whom we thought might be a good match.
We’d scan papers every day for hours, making note of any little change in themes and subjects. We’d note the additions of any new names in bylines or even publications. Then, we would make those changes, by hand if we had to, in those massive lists.
A dreadfully time-consuming and exhausting procedure, especially when you do it day in and day out.
It wasn’t just scanning that we did; we would have to read every article, every time. Because, when you read full articles by certain journalists you find out not just what they cover, but also their perspective as well as that of the publication that they represent.
Other ways we would look for journalists would be:
- Journalist databases that are paid for, and those that are free. However, you have to keep in mind that because of the nature of the industry, these databases do not remain accurate. People change jobs, and what they write about all the time.
- Looking up social media platforms is one way of finding a match. If you have an idea of their name, it is a plausible way to track someone down. Usually, they will have a way to contact them, or you could just reach out on the platform.
- Alternatively, publication websites usually have email addresses for people to contact them, and that is one more way in which you can find a journalist who could be a good match.
However, the problem with all of these tried and tested methods of finding people is that you don’t get a consistent picture every time. You may get the wrong name, the wrong contact details, etc.
And worst of all, imagine all the names that you didn’t even know about, and therefore couldn’t even search for, let alone reach out to!
Use Data to find your ideal matches
The wonderful thing about data is that you can write an algorithm and it can fetch your information over and over within limited time periods that you specify. How cool is that!?
With technology, you can use keywords and context to help understand who writes about what and where (publication). It is also great to know their physical location so that you can time your pitches according to their time zone.
It is important to refresh databases frequently. Wizikey’s algorithms work to retrieve fresh data continuously. We have data teams that do that for you and the ‘Search Media’ page will consistently display updated information for you.
All you have to do really is enter a keyword and Wizikey does the rest.
This data-driven approach makes finding a journalist to write about your story that much easier. And when you use this approach, it results in better open rates, pitch results, and an improved engagement with the media.
Seal the deal
It’s great to understand something about the person that you are reaching out to once you have found them. If you have an idea of what they are like as a person, it helps break the ice when reaching out to them early in your relationship.
Remember: this is a two-way street. You can also benefit them with information and resources.
According to media authority Haje Jan Kamps, 25% of Twitter’s verified user base consists of journalists. Therefore, being on Twitter is imperative if you want to connect with journalists, follow what they write about, and forge a relationship. Twitter also has lists that are based on beats or industries that you can use to your advantage.
Be mindful of how you approach journalists. Do not launch into your pitch, but, as you would with any first meeting, introduce yourself and show your cards/what you have to offer them.
The last word
It really is important that you connect your story with a journalist and publication who is actually interested in that story.
Finding and contacting the right journalist for your story is extremely critical if you want to make sure your story gets featured in the right media and gets the right kind of coverage.
Talk to us at Wizikey and see how we use data analytics to your advantage, to connect you, your brand, and your story with the right journalist, with the right media.