PRs have a bad reputation. They can sometimes be insistent – not to say spammy. They rarely take the time to check out your work or interests before getting in touch. And, most of the time, it’s difficult to ignore that they are trying to promote their clients.
But that’s not to say that PRs can’t be a journalist’s best friend when it comes to finding content, spokespeople, or even stories. And this is why building a PR list and developing relationships with them is very important.
If you get it right, they’ll be able to do you a favour by helping you with the content for your feature, and you’ll be able to do them a favour, by helping them get coverage for their client. Play your cards right, and it’s a win-win situation. But how can you build a relationship that actually works?
Make PR Friends
Having some key PR friends to go to when you need some last minute content for one of your pieces is essential for your day-to-day job.
When you’re working to a deadline or writing an article which requires very specific expert input, it’s great to have a few people you can turn to, especially when the classic routes haven’t worked out.
When we say “PR friends”, we’re not saying that you should spend a lot of time developing close relationships with each of them. We’re just saying that you should simply build a gradual list of PR contacts who have been useful in the past and who you can rely on.
Having this list of contacts ready will save you so much time – and could also ‘save the day’ when you can’t find the right person to talk to.
Just give them all the important information and a deadline; they’ll do the rest of the work to try to find a person and/or the content that meets your needs.
They’re also handy in sending over tailored press releases that you might be interested in publishing. If you’re looking for news or content – they’re your go-to guys.
Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, right? So, you’re on board with getting yourself some PR pals, but how do you go about finding them?
Luckily, they’re not a rare beast if you make yourself known.
Using Social To Build Relationships
In most cases, PRs will approach you directly, whether it’s through social media, or through phone or email. Of course, not all of them will be PRs you want to work with, and it’s important to set the boundaries about how you’d like to be contacted. Only add to your lists the ones that understand your needs and are looking for a partnership beneficial for both of you.
How Using JournoLink Can Help Journalists
As well as being able to view scores of relevant press releases on their online portal, JournoLink connects journalists with small business owners directly. Just tell them your request and deadline and they’ll match it to the relevant people.
If you’re still struggling to find PRs then it might be worthwhile to put yourself out there and ask your following to get in touch. A “Looking to get in touch with __PRs! DM or email __@__.co.uk #journorequest” would do the trick – just fill in the blanks!
You don’t need to use all the content they feed over, but make sure you keep hold of your relationship with them and respond to their emails – a ‘thanks’ or ‘no thanks’ can go a long way. Make sure to respond to and maintain these relationships – you never know when you might need them.
Use PR Platforms For Instant Access
Many PRs have their own platforms where you can send out requests for commentary and spokespersons. These generally tend to be free for journalists to sign up and send out their requests – so make sure to use up these PR services and send out requests when needed.
Going straight to a platform full of business experts also makes sending out your requests all the more convenient.
These platforms generally filter the requests so that only the people in the industries you’ve selected receive it. It means going straight to the source rather than just fishing in the dark.
Many platforms (like JournoLink), also have an option to send you relevant press releases. These tend to be industry-specific, so if you’re in desperate need of news within a specific industry, this could be ideal.
In both cases, this a great way to build relationships with PRs (both in-house or in-agency) effortlessly. Crucially, it also means you can pick the relevant ones and stay in control.
The five-minute sign up will save you hours in the long run!
Create Features Lists
If you don’t have any form of a features list, then it could be time to create one. Many PRs will look to this before sending over anything that they think may be useful and relevant.
This also means it helps to cut down on back-and-forth conversations over what you’re currently looking to write about and means you won’t need to explain what you’re looking for and when your deadline is. They’ll just see and act on the information themselves.
The Regular Features: These are the feature articles that you regularly publish i.e. A Day in the Life or Monthly Best Buys. If you regularly publish a certain feature then it’s worthwhile sharing this with PRs – you can never have too much content.
The Forward Features: These are the features that you intend to publish over a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis. Sharing this with PRs means that you can get relevant content ahead of time and plan accordingly.
It’s also a good shout to create a Google Sheets list to share with a few select key PR contacts where you can update the list accordingly with any feature you’re currently working on. PRs can see this in real-time, saving you time in compiling a list and then having to send that request out.
Enjoyed this and want more from our friends at Journo Link? Here they’ve put together a step-by-step guide to finding expert comment for your stories – everytime.
The key point to remember is: relationships with PRs can be a win-win situation if managed efficiently. By maintaining your relationships with them so that it’s simple and easy to contact one another, taking advantage of the free PR platform services out there, or creating some feature article lists, you will save you the effort and time of going to each of your PR contacts each time you need some content.
This sponsored piece was produced in partnership with JournoLink, a service which helps to seamlessly link journalists with small business experts when they need them.