If you read a PR blog or follow a PR on Twitter at some stage or another you will have heard them banging on about understanding the needs of journalists. This is obviously an elementary part of the job but one that is routinely ballsed up on a monumental scale. If it wasn’t why would you see the name and shame game that occurs every couple of months.
I am a strong believer that you will always struggle if you don’t understand the pressures that journalists are under. As a result the team at Berkeley PR are encouraged to arrange visits with the media to better understand what really makes them tick. Sounds simple, and it is. It is also really effective.
In the past month we have opened our doors to Steve Ranger, met with The Gadget Show to discuss the changes to the format and will be showing our face at Computer Weekly. Each meeting has been conducted without any specific clients in mind but rather a fact finding mission and an excellent piece of on the job training for junior execs.
With more and more pressures on shrinking news rooms it is essential that PR people invest in the relationship if things are going to improve.
Below are my top five tips (of about a million) for improving journalist relations:
1. Try and meet up to discuss their needs and put a face to a name
2. Read their title. Sounds basic but far too many don’t do this
3. Follow them on Twitter and try and pick up pet hates/what they love
4. Get your timing right. Know when they go to press or understand what time to call before so news is still of interest
5. Make sure you can honour what you offer. Be it customer, photo, article or interview – only offer if you are confident you can deliver