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11.30.2010

Building Rapport with Reporters

Engagement is great – but relationships matter As media relations professionals working with journalists every day, Lovell team members have a unique perspective on the value of maintaining good relationships with reporters and editors. We work hard at cultivating positive rapport and mutual respect with newsroom professionals across the country, and we take great measures to stay relevant and timely to journalists’ interests and expectations. For most communications professionals, direct involvement with a reporter may occur only intermittently, making true “relationship building” and long-term relevance somewhat difficult. Consider these simple actions as ways to maintain contact with reporters throughout the year: Connect with journalists on LinkedIn (and link to me while you’re at it). It’s simple, requires almost no commitment, and if you take the extra steps to keep your profile relevant (linking your blog, posting presentations, etc.) you may find reporters will proactively contact you as a source for information. Follow reporters on Twitter. Some writers tweet only about their work; others include personal messages. Either way, following a journalist on Twitter will help you gain insights into him or her, and provides an immediate and somewhat personal way to stay connected. Include journalists on your company newsletter distribution. Company e-blasts generally include positive information about new product launches, employee promotions, new client developments … all terrific fodder to get in front of your priority media. Send reporters your press releases – even if you’ve put the release out on a wire service. Your most important media contacts should hear from you personally and individually – no group distributions, even through blind copy. Take them out for a cup of coffee. All relationships benefit from face time, and reporter relationships are no different. Most journalists will turn down pricey meals or gifts, but a quiet conversation at Starbucks can provide a great opportunity for dialogue. Send them a holiday greeting. Though you may work with a reporter only once or twice in the course of a year, sending a card at the holidays is a great way to keep your brand in front of them – and a nice opportunity to say hello!

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