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Reporter Relationships 101 – How We Get Our Clients in the Media

by Belfort Group | Public Relations , Thought Leadership
August 25, 2022

Team BG Director and rockstar Brit O’Neill makes networking and securing media opportunities look like a breeze — but a quick glimpse into a day of her life shows how much work truly goes into both.  

In our latest BG Summit, Brit shared a presentation on “Reporter Relationships 101” and took us into her world of building reporter relationships and earning media hits for our clients.   

Here are some of her biggest tips for becoming a media relations pro!

 

Understand the Value of Reporters  

In Brit’s words, reporters are a big part of maintaining a good government or society since their job is to secure accountability. Any effective communications professional should always have reporters on their Rolodex! 

 

When selecting reporters to build a relationship with, Brit asks herself the following questions: 

What is my outlet?  

Who is my audience?  

How will I connect the right person with the right reporter? 

In today’s ad-fueled climate, people are tired of being “advertised” and crave more organic relationships – key in reporters. They bring third-party recognition to brands, clients, and messages. They can also help get a client in front of the right people seeking a type of business or solution that the client can fulfill. 

 

Find the Right Reporters  

When looking for the right reporters, try to find ones who have previously covered news beats relating to your client’s business or area of expertise. If you’re considering taking a more local angle, consider reaching out to blogs.  

Twitter will be your best friend for finding reporters! 

Before reaching out, study a reporter’s background and become familiar with their work. When you send your message, include a press release or a similar resource for them to reference quickly. That way, you’ll have a more personalized message demonstrating your knowledge and willingness to work with them. 

 

While pitching and prospecting potential leads, build and continuously update a media list to track your progress and activity. Remembering little details for each reporter can go a long way in building relationships!  

 

Build and Maintain Reporter Relationships  

Stay up to date on industry news as you search for potential reporters so you can jump into the news cycle with a comment, release, or hot take. 

You may find a reporter looking for a lead on a story your client can lend insight

Brit recommends TweetDeck, which she checks daily to monitor local or relevant client news.  

A reporter may not have the appropriate media opportunity when your client contacts them – but that may change in the future! Be open to a potential future collaboration. 

To further build relationships, Brit often takes reporters out to coffee, or — in these current times — a virtual cup of coffee to make that first big impression and professionally pick some brains! 

 

Develop an “Eye” for News

Finding the right opportunity is essential for getting clients the exact type of exposure they need. With every media connection that comes your way, check to see if the outlet/opportunity would provide positive and relevant coverage for your client.

If you find yourself in a situation where a media opportunity could bring a share of negative publicity, make sure you control the narrative. Be clear and concise with your messaging, but also know that sometimes saying “No comment” in specific scenarios is better than giving a statement that can easily be critiqued or misconstrued. 

With client updates and announcements, know what truly counts as news in the reporter world. A reporter will likely be interested in spinning it into a story for anything topical or human interest. If it does not feel urgent and seems more niche or small-scale, publishing a social media post will probably make more sense for your client.  

 

How BG Does Strategy   

At BG, we are no stranger to “cross-pollinating” between our Strategy, Digital and Marketing Teams — so all team members pick up new skills and support each other. Our PR & Marketing funnel affects everyone at the agency – from the bottom to the top!  

Our current BG Strategy with earned media has increased brand validation for our clients, boosting our paid media strategy and our third-party and referral traffic. 

The result? We prove ourselves as an agency that serves as an investment for our clients — rather than an expense. 

 

Need help with securing media opportunities? Contact us at connect@thebelfortgroup.com.

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