PR Networking: How Public Relations is Built on Personal Relationships

Sep 16, 2019 - Maggie Bakle

PR networking is important for any business that takes public relations seriously. But too many businesses rely on press releases alone to reach their goals. The truth is, media advisories and press releases are simply not enough. Reporters are busy and their time is valuable. To find public relations success, it is imperative to build positive personal relationships with your press contacts. That way, your chance of earned media drastically increases.

Identify Reporters Who Matter to Your Business

It’s never a good idea to reach out to hundreds or thousands of reporters at the same time. You can’t develop personal relationships with that many people. Instead, identify specific publications and journalists who write frequently about your industry, and reach out to them. Additionally, identify local reporters who have a history of reporting on local business developments. There’s no need to send releases to meteorologists, sports reporters, or lifestyle magazines unless your business is specifically related to what they write about. Positive relationships with media figures will also be of great benefit if a PR crisis were to occur.

Engage With Them on Social Media

Follow and engage with your targeted reporters on social media. Share their news content and like their tweets. Do everything you can to ensure that they recognize your name because they’ve seen it so much. Make sure your profile picture is a professional photo and your online profiles say exactly who you are and what you do.

Offer Useful Resources

A press release or media advisory is usually not enough by itself to earn coverage. Include quotes, photos, access to company leaders, product samples, and anything else that could help a reporter write their story. Media kits are a great way to package contacts, story ideas, photo assets, logos, and company background for reporters to reference.

Don’t Bring Them Garbage

Developing a positive relationship with the media means not wasting their time. If they receive a press release from you every week with little news value, they will stop opening your emails. All communication with a reporter should be short and to the point. Journalists are looking for facts, so providing useful information is a sure fire way to make yourself valuable to them.

Cater to Reporters

Reporters are busy. Save them time by inviting them to lunch-and-learn events for your clients, where you offer reporters open access to leadership, locations, or products. Use the time to build face-to-face relationships with reporters while making your company look as good as possible.

You should always be visibly present at press conferences and interviews, and make yourself available to reporters. Local news teams should recognize PR contacts and consider them resources.

The Key to PR Success

The key to public relations success goes beyond a perfectly worded press release. To really succeed, you need to develop interpersonal relationships with reporters. You can do this by targeting only reporters who are naturally inclined to cover your industry. Engage with them on social media in a professional manner. Offer as many resources you can, and cater to their needs and busy schedule. By following these tips, you will greatly increase your chances of PR success.