10 Ways PR Pros and Journalists Can Work Together

Posted by Pamela Keniston

PR pros and journalists make a formidable team! Check out 10 ways to come together.

What defines the value of a piece of art? Many say it is how much the piece is appreciated by the owner, not the dollar amount placed upon it. 

Genuineness has become somewhat of an art form these days, especially in the business world. Those who are genuine, who are the real deal as we say, and who are transparent ascend to a higher value in our lives. We don't have to take our precious time to figure out who they are and what they want - they bring that wholeheartedly and unabashedly before us. 

This art form has become even more priceless as it has becomes increasingly rare, especially in the domain of PR professionals and journalists. 

The Disconnect

In times past, the relationship between PR professionals and journalists stood on somewhat solid ground. Maintaining good relations was beneficial for both parties - for the journalist because he had a reliable source of newsworthy items, and for the PR pro because he could trust that his client's information would be released to the public in a professional manner. 

However, today sources and news are everywhere. Journalists are competing more than ever for the public's attention. In an age where news blips come to us non-stop through our Facebook and Twitter feeds, reporters and bloggers need to be extra savvy with 24/7 antennaes to succeed.

On the flip side, PR professionals struggle to have an ear bent to one untoward word on a call, or to have their emails opened, instead of deleted immediately. How can the two parties work together?

A Few Thoughts for PR Pros....

This is where cultivating genuineness aids both you and the journalist. How do you display that, as well as get your client's story before the eyes of the public?

1. Don't be cutesy. Subject lines like "You can't pass this up" or "I thought you would be interested in this" will quickly get deleted. Get straight to the point in the subject line of the email. It will either pique  interest or not, but don't play games.

2. Don't force the issue. It won't serve you well to try to force a reporter or blogger to be interested in your story. Following up with repeated voicemails and emails will serve only to annoy, as most journalists are extremely short on time.

3. Do your research.  Sending out a mass release to every journalist you can think of will not allow you to cultivate a genuine relationship. In addition, you run the risk of technical malfunctions where the journalist is addressed as "Dear [FirstName]" or as "Mr." instead of "Ms." etc. 

Instead, give your journalist first crack at your piece by extending a personal invitation to review it. If he or she is not interested, just move on.

Discover what the reporter or blogger writes about. If your release has little to do with subjects he's familiar with, don't waste his time (or yours). 

4. Give the facts. The journalist doesn't need the flowery wording behind your release. Give him or her the courtesy of providing just the facts.

5. Don't wait until the last minute.  Reporters and bloggers have enough deadlines. Don't burden them with ultimatums, i.e. "This needs to be released by Friday" (and it's Thursday afternoon). Rather, give them plenty of advance notice. Being genuine includes being courteous to others' time.

6. Respond in a timely manner. If a reporter or blogger picks up your release, make sure your client or source is available for further information. Nothing is more frustrating than waiting on someone just so you can wrap up a few loose ends. 

7. Reciprocity is always appreciated. When you find a reporter or blogger's piece genuinely worthy of sharing, go ahead and do so via Twitter or other social media outlets. It isn't necessary for it to be applicable to your client or its industry. Sharing a journalist's piece will display goodwill and a desire to build strong relations.

A Few Requests for Journalists...

The value of PR professionals is not lost entirely for journalists. However, it may feel that way to some if a few basic courtesies are not followed:

1. Try to reply. Yes, journalists may receive emails in the triple digits every day. It just may not be possible to reply to every one. However, doing your best to give PR professionals some closure will be greatly appreciated. And, who knows if down the road they might send you something you find truly valuable?

2. Lend a hand. If a release lands in your lap that might not be your cup of tea, but is newsworthy, feel free to forward it to a colleague. It's  even better if you can let the sender know you have done so. 

3. Be the nice guy. Remember that PR professionals are not out to irritate you or to spam you. They are real people trying to do their job. Be kind and professional when communicating verbally or through email. 

The relationship between journalist and PR pros cannot only still exist, but it can thrive within adaptive boundaries. 

Have you wondered if press releases themselves are still a viable means of PR? Check out our latest SlideShare: How to Create Press Releases That Don't Suck.


Download My Free Guide  to Creating Press Releases  That Don't Suck!



Oct 16, 2014

Wendy Marx

Wendy Marx is the founder and president of Marx Communications, a boutique inbound marketing and public relations agency. An award-winning B2B public relations pro, she has helped many small- & medium-sized firms (SMBs) become well-known industry brands and transform their businesses, going from Anonymity to Industry Icon™.

Her business articles have appeared in The New York Times, InformationWeek, Inc., Advertising Age, & Fast Company, among other outlets. 

View all posts by Wendy Marx