Dear Reporter – We’re Really Here to Help

Person holding coffee cup, compass inside cup, elevated viewI’m not one to state the obvious but this needs to be said – PR pros are here to help reporters.  We’re here to provide information, coordinate interviews and come through with a last minute source when deadline knocks.

It’s not just about us touting our clients and promoting our business partners, it’s about being a source, and more importantly, a resource.

Consider Me a Source

When I email you a pitch, I want you to think of it as more than a story idea.  I want you to think, “If I ever write a story about X, Danielle has a source that I can use.”  Story idea not a fit?  No biggie.  Just remember me in the long term, when the tables turn and an opportunity opens up.

As newsrooms shrink, reporters are left to do more with less.  Less time, less support staff, less internal resources – you get the idea.  So why not leverage their external networks to their fullest capacity?

It only makes sense to take advantage of the sources that are ready and waiting.  It also makes sense to take a few seconds to skim the pitches that come across your Inbox to gain a sense of the sources that are out there.

No, these few seconds don’t exist in the skeleton crew newsroom model, but it seems worthwhile to make the upfront investment when you think about the time it would save in the future.

So why is there static?  Why is the PR pro-reporter relationship so fragile?

Most Importantly, Consider Me a Resource

To all of the reporters reading this (I should be so lucky), email me, call me, tweet me – the communication method is yours to choose.  I want you to know that whether it’s my client or an acquaintance, I’m here to hook you up with who and what you need.

It’s common sense.  If you want the reporter to help you by writing about your client, then you need to help them.  And the help isn’t as simple as giving them what you deem a good story.  It’s a reciprocal relationship.

For the relationship to be effective and mutually beneficial there needs to be added value for both parties.  It isn’t just about getting a plug for your clients.  It’s about building a relationship in which the PR pro and reporter can rely on one another.  And, N.O., I’m not talking about a payoff!

If being a resource and building a strong relationship means knocking on the door of the business beside yours to find an expert to comment, then that’s what it means.

How long will it take?

As publications cease printing at an alarming rate, it seems the time for PR pros and reporters to form strong allegiances is here and now.  It would seem, that this relationship would enable journalists to generate the volume of stories they produced prior to the massive layoffs of late.  It would also allow news outlets to maintain a diverse range of content, despite the elimination of entire sections.

That said, can the PR pros who aren’t into bribing reporters and calling 20 times per day to see if an email was received, mend the fences between PR pros and reporters?  Is this relationship attainable?  Realistic?  Or is this a pipe dream of puppies and unicorns?

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