You have probably heard time and time again about how the typical PR person thrives on knowing people day in and out. We cannot stress the importance of strong business relationships for a PR person. Many practitioners will underscore the importance of knowing someone who can help you jumop past a certain portal but we know that for a business that involves maintaining reputations and ensuring that they are solid, reputations are everything for a PR professional. Here a few tips which can be used to actually maintain good relationships as a Communications Officer.
Do more than is required of you.
Sometimes it’s a pain and hard to do in a busy day, but you need to go the extra mile for the people you are working with. Go out of your way to do the extra work to get journalists and your clients the materials they need. If they have questions, find out the answers as soon as you can and relay that information back. People appreciate your efforts and they don’t go unnoticed. Respect deadlines, respond quickly and often. It seems simple, but you’d be surprised at how many people won’t go this extra mile. It goes a long way. It keeps everyone you’re working with happy and much more willing to work with you again in the future—hence, relationship building.
Research, Research, Research!
There are many reasons why research is important for anyone who works in PR. In terms of relationships, research is key because you need to know who you are talking to. Just flip it around and put yourself on the other side of things: do you enjoy receiving emails that are obviously part of a huge email blast and have nothing to do with you personally? No. It’s a waste of time.
Through research you can find out not only which beat(s) a reporter covers, but what they have written recently, other publications they might contribute to, if they have a personal blog, where they spend on time on social media, what they’re interested in, etc. Knowing all that about a person will immediately give you an edge in building a relationship with them.
Recognize the Importance of Non-Traditional Methods
You will soon realize that most people you are trying to get in contact with spend time on social media, right? Do not forget that when you are doing PR outreach. Social media can be a very effective way to begin a conversation with someone, which is how you start to build a relationship. If you converse with a journalist via Twitter, for instance, the next time you have an idea for them you can send a quick DM to at least gauge their interest. If they want to know more, they can quickly answer and ask you to send a more detailed email. It’s much more efficient and effective, especially because most of us are already spending time on social media sites as it is. This method also sets you apart from the rest because clearly you know who you’re talking to and sent that message directly to them.
Honesty Will Always Remain the Best Policy
PR folks don’t always have the best reputation on this front, but honesty is always the best way to go. People can recognize when you are giving them the runaround, and they do not like it. Don’t promise things that won’t happen or aren’t actually true. If something isn’t going to work out or a story just isn’t a fit, be upfront about it. If you don’t know something, just say that you don’t know but are working to find out. Making up answers and giving false promises will end up hurting you. Anyone you work with will appreciate you being straightforward and realistic. From there on out, they will know they can come to you for honest answers. This is something to be valued. It’s rare.
Follow Up…and Follow Up again
I can’t stress enough how important it is to follow up. Don’t be a stalker, but remember that people are busy and they can innocently forget about you. They will appreciate a follow up. It also keeps you in communication, which is another large part of relationships. Following up not only helps you stay at top of mind, but it shows you’re interested and truly care about the matter at hand. If a journalist covers your client, reach out to them upon reading the article to let them know that you read it and enjoyed it, appreciate that they wrote it, thank them for working with you, and then share it via social media. If you just fall off the radar after you give a journalist all of your client’s materials, then you aren’t really building any sort of relationship with them.
So with some of these tips in mind, you are bound to actually build strong relationships with all those you work with.