Ask Allyson: How Do I Make True Relationships with Media
ASK ALLYSON: I’m an aspiring publicist but have always assisted others with their already established relationships, so the opportunity to build true relationships hasn’t been a priority. How should I approach starting a relationship with a journalist? I want to talk to them as people and not just when I need something from them. Do I literally cold email with kudos on their recent story and end the convo with “Would love to keep in contact for any future stories together!”? Many, many, many years down the line, it would be awesome to have my own agency, but it seems so unrealistic when I don’t have these relationships and don’t know where to start. -All I Want Are Real Media Connections
Dear All I Want Are Real Media Connections,
People often ask me why I got into PR, and it happens to be the same reason why I’m still in PR after all of these years. It’s because of the relationships. When you’re starting out, it can be intimidating to think about approaching an editor. And to think about building an entire Roladex of relationships? Forget about it. But let me tell you a secret. Editors are humans, too. And as much as it’s your job to build relationships, it’s their job to build relationships, too. So yes, I say reach out and introduce yourself. But do it with intention. Make sure that you have something to offer up — a client, brand, product, project, service, founder, etc that’s a fit for them (aka: do your research). Relationships are all about trust and reciprocity, and this is the same with your media relationships. You’ve got to earn their trust so that one day, they’ll reach out to you when they need something (#goals). Keep in mind that there are a gazillion and one publicists out there, and we’re all in pursuit of relationships and opportunities with the same pool of editors. This means that they can receive hundreds (if not more) of pitches on any given day. So if you don’t have anything to offer up, it’s best to wait until the time is right. And in the meantime? Well, thank god for Instagram and LinkedIn. Connect on a personal level and start building your relationship there. Your furbaby, obsession with Harry Styles, and commitment to the perfect vegan chocolate chip cookie are definite conversation starters.