As a Public Relations professional you will work frequently with media personnel and journalists. These media professionals have a lot of power. They have the ability to make your job easier or make it very difficult. It is vital to develop cordial relationships with journalists to help make your job run smoothly.
There are a few things that you should know that will help you to establish friendly relationships with journalists. It is important to learn as much as you can about the outlets you will be using and the people you will be working with. The more you know about their writing styles and the stories they cover, the better situated you will be to develop an advisory or release that will be covered.
Once you have established a good working relationship with a reporter it is important to maintain that relationship. Here are some guidelines to follow to help you do this:
- Always be honest. When asked reveal all the information that you have the good, the bad and the ugly- but make sure your messaging is key. If a journalist discovers that you have withheld information it will ruin your credibility.
- Establish ground rules. Good relationships are important, but don’t divulge anything that you would not want in print. Always assume that nothing is off the record.
- Always answer reporter’s phone calls. If you do not return their phone calls they will get their information for somewhere else. You are the most credible source for your organization so the information they are getting should come from you.
- Don’t send journalists a daily bombardment of media releases. It is not likely that there are that many news worthy event happening within your organization. When you do this you risk not having the important stories reported.
The relationship between a journalist and a PR professional is two-way. They need your information as much as you need their media outlet. Treat them with honesty and respect, and they will help to make your job easier.