With the current restrictions in travel and social distancing, a vacuum is being formed in all sections of professional and business relationship building. Media rounds were traditionally the best ways to develop the journalist PR relationship and no other form can substantiate it. The gap formed due to the pandemic can be filled, once the situation improves. Meanwhile, to prevent the gap from further broadening, digital approach is the most likely choice.
With taking this approach a few questions arise, how do we go about it, how do we plan for it and what do we expect out of it.
The answer to these is expected once we begin the process and develop it once we progress with it. The important point here is however to be in the mind of the person we are trying to build the relationship with.
A few of the productive steps that can be taken in the initial stage are discussed below. We would take a more specific approach while executing the task.
Journalists are busy people and like in person meetings digital approach should be productive, professional and worthy. To begin with, update your media lists and start with the steps.
Gain the journalist’s spotlight
Focus on the beats that you are working on currently or would work probably. The journalist who covers the respective beat produces the story not only in his /her official publication but also tends to publish in social media networks, personal blogs and in other long and short forms of writing.
One of the most productive ways is to become a fan of the journalist, subscribing to the RSS feed of their blogs. Sharings the journalist’s story in your digital channels will build a connection with the relevant journalist and would be important to understand the interest of the journalist and the type of stories he would be interested in.
Be digitally professional
Journalists are human beings and since once the journalist has taken an interest in the digital liking and following of yours, it’s inappropriate to bombard him with greetings and personal messages whenever you see him/her online. The best way to schedule a virtual chat/discussion is with prior intimation. Take a prior appointment through professional email and set your digital calendar to schedule the meeting.
Social media offers a means to stay up-to-date on journalist interests and current work areas. This also builds an excellent path to initiate a conversation. However, it’s best to have a confined social media interaction and build a better professional relationship in the time tested approach i.e in person and being professionally active in industry discussions on relevant topics.
Being a fan with benefit
Being resourceful is the secret to build any successful business relationship. In most of the occurrences, it’s very likely that the success of the story depends on the accessibility to key persons. The journalist covering the story might have restricted availability of resources and if you fill the gap through your available resource, you will build a great and productive professional partnership.
Reacting to a need for active participation is an important starting point of relationship building.
Checkmate your negativity
Benefit to being positive is that it increases the likelihood of your relationship to continue. It enhances the partnership feeling when helping them do their job better. This requires a level of awareness, empathy, proactivity, and pleasantness.
Authored by Chiranjeeb N Bora, Founder / Director, Psalesanalytics