Written by: Rayson Choo, Guest Writer
There are two kinds of relationships you need to build with the media: individual relationships with media people and general relationships with media outlets — newspapers, TV, radio stations, podcasts, magazines, and internet-based publications.
Like any other people, the media people (reporters, editors, editorial writers, bloggers, podcasters) respond to the same things. They are drawn to like-minded people interested in them and their families, who like them for who they are and not just interested in what they can provide.
Here are five tips that I believe can help you to win them over.
Make Personal Contact
The first step towards knowing someone is to make a personal contact. If you want people to know more about you and your brand of products/ services, you often need to make the first move. The best way will be to introduce or refer to a particular person by a mutual friend, client, or even an acquaintance. However, if that is not possible, what you need to do is search for the name of the reporter or podcaster who writes or broadcasts about the issues related to your niche.
It will be great if you know the name of the reporter when you are asking for them because if you ask for 'the entrepreneur podcaster' or "the business reporter," it will tell 2 things about you:
1) You are cold calling and someone who is calling without any connection to him/her or the media outlet, hoping to get something out from them.
2) You haven't bothered to do any research to find out who the entrepreneur podcaster or the business reporter is, which will definitely lower down your chances of getting featured. Can you imagine sending a formal letter without bothering to check the spelling of the addressee or the correct address that you're sending it to? Makes sense?
To be honest, cold calling is not really effective because you are just simply using a set of templates (a huge chunk of words), editing the names, and just sending them to them. In my opinion, you should not do this ever if you truly want to work with these podcasters or reporters!
Everyone should take the time to get to know the person through the content they've created. Read their captions. Do your homework! Then do as what Gary Vaynerchuck has instructed. Reach out and ask how you can help them. Bring them value. Don't ask for anything in return. Be genuine. Be patient. Don’t be another person who’s always looking for solicitations. This will dampen your branding and reputation as an entrepreneur, influencer, or whatever role that you are doing right now.
Before you can get the media to 'work' for you, you need to know what the journalists or interviewers want. Research on the publication that he or she is working in and find out the key topics he or she focuses on before pitching your story.
If he or she has their own podcast, listen to it. Listen to the type of questions that they will be asking for during the show. This not only helps you to learn the type of content these journalists/podcasters are looking for, but it also allows you to craft your story in a way that is relevant to them and their audience. Once a journalist realizes that you have put in the time to research them, they will be more open to hearing your pitch.
Here's an example, if the podcast's theme is about gratitude, then go all-in with the theme of gratitude. Do not talk about anything else except for Gratitude unless the things that you are going to story tell have links to the theme of Gratitude. Makes sense?
The next example will be this: If Brainz Magazine editors are looking for writers to write about “How to Prioritize Your Time in 2021”, would you write to them and say that you would like to contribute an article about what happened in 2020? Absolutely not!
If you do not go with the theme, guess what, it will not only make you look or sound awkward in the media, it will also bring your value down. If you do not understand what the question means, you can ask them to elaborate for you. There's no harm in doing that. Just make sure that you do not assume, or else it’ll make an ass out of me and you.
Relationships are key
Fostering and growing these friendships are really important for you and your clients. People often think that money can solve everything - even with press media or any forms of media publicity. Well, yes, you can, unless if you are filthy rich and you are ready to spend. However, many of them forget about the other value that money can't buy, and that is genuine relationships. This is something that bloggers, deejays, journalists, podcasters, and other human beings on Earth treasure the most.
So, how can you build relationships with them? The answer is simple. Treat them the same way you make friends with other people. By being friendly and providing value with no expectation of return. I'm sure that's how you treat your family and best friends, right?
One thing is for sure: relationships take time to grow. It is not built in an instant. You don't have to become their best friends to get media features. You have to establish yourself as someone that can be trusted to know what you are talking about. If you do not know what you are talking about or not coherent with what you are saying, then all the more, this will turn their attention away from you.
Hang Out Where They Hang Out
Conferences and events can be the best places for you to make that all-important first face to face contact with them. As the saying goes, the first impression is always the most important thing when you meet somebody new. Hence, don't immediately talk about how you or your organization want to be featured on their covers or articles. Journalists are human too. Instead, socialize with them a little and get to know more about them before inviting them to meet you and your organization.
Remember, they are always busy with their work, and your invite has to be worthwhile for them. They will only accept your invitation if you have something interesting to offer them that they couldn't receive over the phone or email, such as seeing your work in action or the chance to meet a VIP.
Go That Extra Mile
Once you've spent time talking to a journalist/podcaster during networking events or via emails, take that extra step out of your comfort zone by asking them out for face to face meet up. It could be done through a lunch or dinner or supper. It depends on both of your schedules and what's comfortable for you two. Meeting with a journalist or podcaster outside not only allows you to relax outside of your office or work environment, but it also allows you to solidify the friendship and find out more about themselves personally.
You can also follow them on their LinkedIn/Facebook/Instagram/Twitter and share a thoughtful comment on whatever they have written or shared on these social media platforms. You can join in the conversation or provide them with answers to questions that they may have raised. When you provide them with what they want, when they want it, it can turn into many more if the media finds that you are responsive, valuable, and comfortable with handling an interview.
Rayson Choo, Guest Writer, Brainz Magazine
Rayson Choo is dubbed as The Celebrity Whisperer. What he does is he picks the brains of the best entrepreneurs you have in this world, such as Gary Vee, Grant Cardone, etc. to find out from them what are some of the simple and effective steps that millennials can take to experience success in the swiftest and most effective way possible. He does that through podcasting. The millennials who have listened to the podcast have experienced personal transformation because they have gotten the tips they need to move forward.
(Podcast link: https://apple.co/3422gwc)