Four Tips for Engaging Influencers & Top-Tier Reporters
Landing a big story tops many of our clients’ agendas – and why wouldn’t it? Being quoted or sourced by top-tier reporters and influencers strengthens brand credibility, drives website clicks, attracts investor attention, fuels new business opportunities and more.
But as PR professionals know, strategic earned media placements take more than just finding the right reporter and news hook. It takes an abundance of research, relationship building and time.
Here are four tips for engaging influencers and top-tier reporters to achieve media gold:
People like human connection, and reporters are no different. Sure, you might be targeting a journalist who covers Robotics, Supply Chain or Artificial Intelligence – but that person has more interests outside of their work. Get to know your top targets and form meaningful, memorable connections. Did you find out from their personal blog that they’re from your hometown? Cool, point that out. Does their Twitter bio tell you they brew their own beer? Awesome, ask them what their favorite pint is before diving into business in your pitch.
When you can show a reporter that you took the time to look into their work and who they are as people, it becomes much harder to ignore you. ?
We all have that one friend who only contacts us when they need something. Pro tip: don’t be that guy for reporters. Reporters receive dozens to hundreds of pitches from people every day. What they don’t get a lot of: emails simply saying “Hey, great story on XYZ! I really enjoyed your insight on ABC.” No story idea or client intro request included – just a simple pat on the back. Those types of interactions build morale and the overall relationship.
Most reporters are on Twitter – and they love followers, retweets and likes. Who doesn’t? Follow your top targets and engage with their tweets as much as possible. Share their recent stories and tag their handles. Make your own Twitter interesting and personable so they want to follow and engage with you, too.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out when a pitch has been blasted to 50 people. This approach will not get a reporter interested in what you have to say! Be sure to customize every pitch with a personalized, unique message. Reference a relevant recent article they wrote or mention how you follow their coverage. Then, tweak your pitch angle to highlight how your source can speak to the topics they care about the most. This approach may take extra time, but it’s worth it.
There’s no short cut when it comes to landing top-tier coverage, even when you have the perfect story. It’s important to help set your new clients’ expectations that nothing happens overnight. But if you put the time into finding the right targets, getting to know them, interacting with them and personalizing your communication, success will follow.