Building relationships with the press can feel a lot like dating. Follow these rules to develop a real connection.
It feels good, doesn’t it? Your name in print, broadcast or online. There’s something about the instantaneous pleasure that a positive PR story brings.
But the reality is that the immediate gratification you’re feeling took someone--a publicist, agency, you ... and, of course, a journalist--a lot of time and effort.
Building relationships with the press isn't so different from building any other relationship--and in fact, it can feel a lot like dating. So whether you're going it alone or using a publicist, PR firm, or internal specialist, you should know a few important rules for creating and caring for your media relationships.
1. Be monogamous.
One misconception is the more, the better. Not so when it comes to pitching a story. Sending the same email to the masses is like hanging out in a rocking chair: it gives you something to do, but you won’t get very far. Instead, target your story to the perfect reporter.
2. Woo them personally.
Media professionals do their fair share of research before developing a story--and so should you. Do your homework; see what your ideal contact is already writing and/or talking about-;and make sure you understand the reporter or producer's point of view. Then be sure to woo your contact with a tie to his or her existing editorial interests.
3. Flirt online.
Interested in a particular journalist or media outlet? Follow your contacts on Twitter. This is an opportunity to see what they are up to, learn what fires them up, and interact in a meaningful way.
4. Build connections.
Align yourself with recognizable partners, such as celebrities or experts. This is one way to get quick attention; you can also leverage the resources of your partners. But remember: Even when celebrities are involved, you still need to tell a unique story to gain and keep the respect of your contact.
5. Get past 'hello.'
Craft sexy (but not inappropriate!) messaging that will immediately attract your contact. Start with your subject line: Media professionals receive an onslaught of communication and your emails need to make it past all of the other appealing messaging.
6. Develop mutual commitment.
Once you've developed a relationship, continue to follow up with timely and relevant stories. Media professionals like having an arsenal of experts they can continually count on. These relationships can be mutually beneficial for years to come.
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