A Valentine's Day Guide to Wooing the Media
BY Jon Gelberg
It's not unlike developing a romantic relationship: You'll need wit, persistence, and a good deal of charm to be successful.
Valentine's Day is traditionally the day to launch an all out charm offensive toward a loved one with roses, champagne—whatever your weapon of choice.
This Feb. 14, I'm going to focus on how to launch a different kind of charm offensive—one that will still require much wooing and no small amount of deference, wit, and persistence if you're to be successful.
Here's how to charm the media, develop better press relationships, and score the kind of coverage you covet most:
Have a great pick-up line: If you want the attention of a major media outlet you'd better have a message ready that differentiates you from the crowd of other suitors. Do you have a breakthrough product? Have you approached a problem in a unique and intelligent way? Do you have an insight into a current issue that sets you apart from the crowd?
Focus on them, not you: Don't be the guy who does nothing but talk about himself. When pitching the media, show you are really interested in them. Make sure you not only know the publication inside and out, but also the reporter you’re pitching. Refer to specific stories you’ve read by them.
Don’t be deterred by rejection: The guy who folds his tail between his legs the first time a woman turns him down is a guy likely to be spending a lot of lonely nights. Businesses that pitch one or two outlets and then stop pitching because there’s no interest will suffer similarly lonely fates. Rejection is part of the PR game, a big part. Leave your ego at the door and be persistent. Find new outlets to pitch and don’t be afraid to go back to outlets that have turned you down in the past.
Give before you take: Personal relationships only going work when there’s something positive in them for both parties. When pitching the media, explain what’s in it for them: great information for their readership, a scoop, a unique case study or perspective.
Be attentive and accommodating: Go out of your way to put their needs first. If you’re setting up an interview, do it at the reporter's convenience. If there’s information she needs from you, get it to her quickly and serve it on a silver platter.
Keep the flame alive: Getting press coverage is not like a one-night stand. Media relationships are precious and require time to cultivate. Always say "thank you" and offer your availability for other stories. Keep giving the reporter fresh ideas and perspectives. Follow her on social media to see what she's thinking and writing about.