This is an archived blog from when I ran Conscious Public Relations Inc. from 2008-2018. Excuse the potential outdated-ness!

The most fundamental and overlooked part of PR: Forming relationships.

After meeting with a potential client yesterday, it occurred to me that many business owners might not know the first – and most easiest and overlooked – step to good media relations: Start with a relationship.

It’s worth the reminder, and is a lesson I’ve re-learned just this last while. I was asked, “If I’m going to do PR on my own, where do I start?” And the advice is the same advice I give when I do PR presentations: Even before you have a piece of news to pitch the media, start with the relationship. Start following the people you think would be most likely to tell your story, and get to know them and what they talk about. Then when it’s time to pitch some of your own news, you already have an established relationship, and not only will it seem less scary, but media will be more likely to pick it up because they trust you as a source.

After being in the biz for over 10 years, I looked back and realized that the relationships with media I’ve built for that stretch of time are even more solid than some of my personal and business relationships!

Even if someone moves to a different outlet, it doesn’t mean you cut off that person forever. In fact, it’s what makes database nurturing so fun! I’m a big geek so I personally love updating my database, and going for casual coffees out with people I haven’t met in person.

Having sent out e-mails and picked up the phone for the first time in a while this past month, I was blown away by the increased success rate that was achieved by me doing that versus assigning the media outreach to someone on my staff. I love my past staff, but you can really see the difference in the interactions because they just haven’t formed that long-term relationship yet.

Here are some tips you can do to nurture those relationships:

  • Follow media on Twitter or add them on LinkedIn, and comment on their content. Use Snapchat? Awesome. You’ll be able to private chat if they follow you back.
  • Reach out to someone you adore online but haven’t met yet and offer to treat them for coffee, lunch, or drinks after work (if they live in your city).
  • For long distance, there’s always Skype or FaceTime.
  • Pick up the phone (at an opportune time) just to say hello to someone you haven’t connected with in a while. You never know what news they might have for you!
  • Screenshot something they’ve posted and post it and tag them on your Instagram account, along with the reason why you enjoyed that content.

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