I was fortunate to be interviewed as part of a story about public relations in this month’s Hardware Retailing (an electronic version is available here, with the story beginning on pg. 60). It was an outgrowth of a presentation I made at the 2010 Do it Best May Market entitled “Have I Got News for You! Building Relationships with Your Local Media.” The bottom line is that earned media is still a great way to get your message out, and getting your news in the media is largely a function of relationships. How do you build those relationships? You have to understand the three things reporters want from you:
1. Credibility. Do you know what you’re talking about? Do you know what reporters/editors are interested in? Do you follow through? Are you seen as a peer in telling their story (and not just interested in telling yours)?
2. Accessibility. Is it easy to get in touch with you? Do you position yourself where reporters are and not just where you want to be? (In other words, are you accessible via new media AND in the real world? Do you respect deadlines?)
3. Likability. Do reporters/editors look forward to speaking with you? Are you authentic? Do they see you as a living, breathing person? Do you treat them well?
In today’s communication environment, likability may be the most important trait of all. It’s likely that a quick web search will give the reporter several options to include as sources in a story, and technology makes it easier for them to access you. But when everything else is even, who will they call? Like all of us, they’ll work with a jerk when they have to. But given the choice, they’d rather not.
What are your tips for building relationships with the media?