As Public Relations professionals we are going work with reporters- there is just no way around that. This does not mean that we can’t develop relationships with these reporters to have a smoother transition from PR to their story. Here is a step by step process to start cultivating these crucial relationships:
A great way to start building a relationship is to take the time to learn you reporter’s names and whom they are reporting for. This opens the door just a bit wider to bridge the relationship between the two of you. Next, use that open door to talk off the record with reporters. Let them know where your boundaries are and what types of questions are fair game, and what types are off limits. Establishing these limitations off the record can allow you to have your client portrayed by the media the way that you would like them to be. If you do not establish limitations you may give your client an image that is less than desirable if you are saying “no comment” all of the time. As PR professionals we find ourselves working with local media outlets on a regular basis, which means we will be seeing the same group of reporters on a regular basis.
Develop the proper relationship with your reporters and you’ve got yourself another tool to utilize for you and your client. Not only will this established relationship benefit you and your client, but it will also benefit your networked reporters to have an inside connection to the agency or business you work for.