public relations

How to... Contact a Journalist

A good relationship with the press is absolutely key for PR, without this your story will never see the light of day but how do you cultivate one of these elusive, sacred relationships? Journalists are absolutely inundated every day by 100s of emails, calls (mobile and office), direct tweets, old fashioned post and people turning up at their offices armed with product for them to try. On top of this barrage of communication on all fronts, journalists still need time to research and write their articles. So how do we get through all this noise and make ourselves heard without becoming a nuisance and being ‘ghosted’?

1. Journalists are human too

- Don’t send them blanket emails, don’t just BCC your pitch out with a generic ‘Hi’ or ‘Good Morning’ as it will end up unopened in the trash – they’ll know that you’ve sent it out to the world and its dog

- Take the time to read their articles before sending them information on your product/brand/service/story to ensure that it is suitable and refer back to one of their articles so they know that you’ve bothered to do your research

2. The early pitch catches the coverage

- Email journalists earlier in the week and in the morning because fewer journalists work on the weekend and your email should appear in their inboxes when they’re planning out their work for the week

3. Know Thy Journalist

- Going back to ‘journalists are human’, they all have their own preferred style or method of communication. Some will never respond to emails, others will only reply to emails and never take calls, some like that personal touch and can spare five minutes for you to see them face to face, others use twitter to get their stories. Unfortunately there’s no shortcut to this – you just have to learn and remember. We make a point of finding out from our journalists and here’s a peek at some of their bugbears and preferences...

We’ve spent years cultivating our relationships with journalists and have worked hard to make sure that we know them well enough to pitch the right stories to them at the right time with the assets they like best. This has paid off, not only do we get stories placed in the most coveted titles but they even like us! You can see what some journalists say about Sunny Bird PR here... https://www.sunnybirdpr.com/testimonials/

4. Keep your eyes peeled

- If a journalist says they’re going to run with your story, politely ask for an expected date so you can keep an eye out for your coverage – no one wants to go through steps 1-3 and then miss the coverage after all that hard work!

- If it’s a hard copy, make sure you get a copy when it does come out, hell, get two or three copies

- If it’s online, save it down so you always have a copy in case they take it down in the future

- Share it far and wide on all your social platforms – make sure it’s well presented if it’s a scan or an accessible link if it’s online

5. Remember your manners

- Say thank you!

- Send a handwritten, personalised card and some chocolate (that’s what we do) to the lovely journalist that featured you – if you keep them sweet they might even feature you again :) 

We hope this blog post has been useful and will fill you with confidence next time you’re approaching the press. We appreciate that it’s incredibly time intensive and there’s no short cut to creating these relationships. If you would like to get your story into the press but don’t have that much time on your hands feel free to give us a call on 01202 293095 or drop us a line at hello@sunnybirdpr.com.