Journalists: Get to know ‘em

We’re all short on time nowadays, and that not only goes for PRs but journalists too. With fewer staff in the offices of newspapers and magazines across the country, and many publications ceasing to exist completely – most recently More magazine closing and Easy Living going online only. It can be tough for journalists to make the time for press launches, lunchtime meetings and interview slots.
However, in this industry it’s imperative to build strong relationships with journalists to ensure your client sticks in their memory. Instead of sending out a blanket press release to a generic list of journalists, take the time time to get to know them. Put in a call to introduce yourself, follow them on Twitter, read their publication in detail to hone down your list to a specific set of valuable contacts and always be willing to go above and beyond to help them.
Don’t be disheartened if they can’t make it to your product launch, send them a sample in the post or better yet, deliver it in person. Just like any other situation in life, face to face contact is the best way to get to know someone better and show them something tangible. Surely getting your client that jaw dropping piece of coverage is worth taking the extra time.
Freelance journalist Tanith Carey (previously features editor at the Daily Mirror) recently said she prefers Friday breakfast meetings with PRs, so if they can’t fit in with your slot, find out theirs!
Recently with our client mysocialpetwork.co.uk, we sent out a personalised ‘pupcake’ mailer to 40 relevant journalists and influencers, taking the time to find out their dog’s names in the process, with feedback showing this was very much appreciated. Results included media coverage, personalised thank you videos from the dogs themselves and a barking mad number of tweets!

My Social Petwork is the UK's first social networking site dedicated to pets.

Something eye-catching is bound to get the journalists attention – take the USB stick shaped like a chocolate bar recently sent out to promote the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Musical. It was simple but fun, a fact which entertainment editor for Red magazine, Rosamund Dean, agreed with as she tweeted about it.