Building and maintaining good relationships with journalists means it’s easier to get stories published, offer clients or commentators as sources of information, and communicate with them.
In the age of the 24/7 news cycle, social media and news walk hand-in-hand when it comes to delivering news and connecting with the public.
It can be difficult knowing when and how to pitch stories, however, building relationships and networking with journalists is vital to succeed in public relations (PR).
Social media is considered an untapped resource when it comes to communicating with journalists online. Many people believe this to be limited to Instagram and Facebook. However, these platforms are regarded as personal avenues and aren’t really meant for work-related relationships.
The good news is there is a social media platform that allows professionals to connect with each other, and it’s called LinkedIn.
It’s important when deciding who to send pitches to, that you find out which journalists prefer to use LinkedIn and if they’re open to receiving messages through the platform. Some journalists tend to prefer calling or emailing them directly or using other platforms such as Twitter.
So, it’s important to do your research before you reach out to them. Remember that this is all about trying to build and maintain an on-going relationship with the journalist.
Sending Pitches via InMail vs. Messages
Choosing with avenue within LinkedIn to send pitches is a big decision. So, let’s discuss what the differences are.
- Messages: This avenue allows you to send messages between two connected accounts even if you don’t have a Premium LinkedIn accounted. However, you need to have a previous connection with the journalist beforehand.
- InMail: This avenue requires you to have a paid Premium LinkedIn account. With this method, you can send private messages even if you’re in no way connected with the journalist.
It’s important to know that when sending pitches via InMail to journalists you don’t know, there is a high chance of them ignoring your message or declining to connect with you.
Know Who to Connect with on LinkedIn
When connecting with journalists on LinkedIn, make sure you know them – they might ignore you if they don’t know you. It’s important to connect with journalists who you’ve already worked with before because having an established relationship can do wonders.
If you don’t know the journalist, give them a good reason why they should connect with you and how it will be valuable to them. Show them the types of stories you can offer and other coverage you’ve received. Once you’ve sent that request, stop going to their account as they will be notified if you’ve been looking at their profile.
Research the journalist before you connect with them. Find out what stories they write and if your pitch matches their preferred style.
If you’ve been accepted as a connection, try and follow them for any media opportunities or updates. Sometimes they’ll send a post asking for people to comment on a topic or to provide a quote. So, have a spokesperson or commentator ready if you think they’re suitable.
Although journalists tend to prefer being called or emailed for pitches, LinkedIn is another avenue through which you can start building relationships and have your stories published.
About the Author
Olivia Cunnington is a content writer for Adoni Media, a digital and public relations agency. She writes for national and international publications.