When it comes to finding success with media relations, one of the best things that you can do is to have a strong network of contacts to rely on whenever you have a pitch or a story you need to get out in the public. Your contact list is one of the most important tools that you can use to reach out to the public and to the media. How do you build a strong contact list? Networking.
Networking is one of the most important things you can do to build your brand and your business and it can also come in handy when it comes to media relations as well. Here are a few “must-try” networking tips that can help you meet new people in the media and create strong media contacts that you can use later on with your PR efforts.
A Strong Network Connection Is About Give And Take
When you go into the networking process and are looking to make a connection, remember that your goal shouldn’t just be to help yourself but to help the other party as well. You need to be able to bring value to a reporter, in order for them to give you coverage. Don’t just focus on your needs when you make connections.
It’s Not About The Most Connections, But The Right Connections
Networking isn’t just about shaking the hands of the most people possible, it is about shaking the hands of the right people. You shouldn’t focus on just getting the most business cards possible at a single networking event, you should focus on finding the right people and forging actual relationships with them when you do meet them. Saying two words to five random people isn’t as effective as shaking the hands of and really having an in-depth conversation with one great media contact.
Have Realistic Expectations
There are some people that attend networking events and go into the process having some pretty serious expectations. Don’t expect that just because you talked to a journalist that they are going to go out on a limb for you and accept all of your pitches. You shouldn’t expect anything from the contacts you meet, you should know that you are slowly building a relationship.
Don’t Start By Asking For Help
When meeting a new connection, start off by flattering the person you meet. Praise the individual and their work and try to use specific examples when you can. Don’t start off by asking for help, it can really turn another person off. You want them to feel like you are actually interested in meeting them and interested in what they have to say, not just getting a handout.
Always Try To Offer Value
When meeting people at networking events, you can’t just expect that your charm and good conversation will be enough to entice a journalist to want to cover your company. You need to always remember, when you are meeting people and when you are following up with them, that you need to provide them with as much value as possible. Be a resource to the journalist you meet. Answer their questions and try to solve their problems when you can. The more value you offer the better.
If you keep these things in mind when your network and remember that you should never take “no” personally and always keep working on expanding your contact list, you can start creating connections in the market that can really help you build your media contact list.