It takes a huge amount of time and effort to get to know journalists and editors. But it’s well worth it. Having someone who will listen to your communications for a large media outlet will make your public relations much more successful, and much easier. If your goal is to get featured by one of the largest media outlets, you can be certain that you will need a relationship in order to get in there.

Building effective working relationships with journalists is more accessible than you would think. Even the smallest firms and freelancers are able to have success in the area, provided they put in the time and effort required to produce results. Media Relations is a serious time commitment, and it is not to be taken lightly.

But how does a marketer get journalists to listen to them, let alone stay friends? There are great guidelines on how to approach this, and there is a multitude of ways to achieve the end result. Much of it depends on what area you are based in, as this will dictate if you can ever take an offline approach to media relations, which can be quite effective in certain situations.

One way is to reach out and introduce yourself, and then proceed to discuss the journalist’s field of coverage. For example, a cryptocurrency journalist is going to love talking about new, trends, and theories anytime – but you’ve got to be able to hold your conversation with them. They are an expert in their field of coverage, so to be able to hold a conversation with them you should be as close to as expert as possible, and ideally you really should be an expert.

If your location allows for it, it’s a great idea to get out there and attend as many events and conferences as possible. It’s a great first point of contact for you and the media person, and it’s generally a smooth process transitioning from that initial meet into a semi-regular email conversation.

Having an active Twitter strategy is essential and allows you to keep your name on the mind of the journalist if they enjoy your replies and feedback. “Strategy” is the keyword here, as you can’t send them low-value replies and expect to get results. Your replies should be simple, well thought out, and planned in advance. Demonstrate to the journalist that you are an expert in your area of focus.

The most effective way to foster reliable working relationships is to find sources for them. This does not mean high-value sources, this means sources of knowledge who can chime in on some of their articles here and there. Whenever you see an article that includes a quote from someone plus a link, this is them being a source for their article. An example of this in practice (again from cryptocurrency) would be to introduce a crypto-journalist to an executive at a startup in the space. Who knows, you might just close the startup as a client and win the journalist as a friend all in the same email.

Happy pitching everybody!