Building relationships with the media is vital to the success of any communications campaign, yet many public relations professionals focus too much on how the pitch is written rather than on having outstanding working relationships. For example, reporters ignore pitches that do not fit their publication, and even perfectly written pitches can fall through the cracks if the public relations professional is not persistent enough to reach busy reporters. The following principles will ensure that your organization receives consistent media coverage in key financial services publications.
Build Lasting Relationships with the Financial Media
Public relations professionals who lead successful communication campaigns in financial markets build long-term relationships with key reporters and editors. This investment makes the process of pitching a reporter more effective and much less daunting. Reporters are always busy so be as helpful as you can to make their job easier and they will want to work with you more often. Always follow through on what you promise. Nothing sours a relationship faster than dropping the ball when you owe something to an editor. Also, maintain contact with key reporters even if you do not have a pitch. Pick a recent article a reporter has written and send a note with some positive feedback. Everyone is busy, but sometimes we forget that reporters enjoy hearing kind words just like the rest of us.
Know the Publication
Even a healthy working relationship with a financial reporter does not yield positive results if you do not know the kinds of stories that the media outlet likes to publish. Nothing irritates a reporter more than being pitched by someone who clearly does not know the publication or what they write about. Doing your due diligence on the front end differentiates you from others who do not take the time to do their homework. Also, make sure you understand what the requirements are for submitting an article to the publication. For example, you should never send an article to a reporter or editor that does not meet an acceptable word count or does not fit the publication’s writing style.
Be Persistent and Professional
Reporters receive hundreds of pitches every day so follow up by using a combination of email and phone calls but do so in a professional and courteous manner. Moreover, after you have followed up consistently without getting a positive response, assume the reporter is not interested in your story and move on. Even the busiest reporter screens their emails and voicemails for a good pitch. If you provide a captivating enough story, they will respond.
Building strong relationships with key connections in the financial industry will not just increase your company’s visibility in this highly regulated market; it will also provide the publicity your company needs to successfully launch new products and services.