There are many ingredients that go into effective media relations. Having a good story or a knowledgeable and authoritative source to offer are, of course, two critical components. But responsiveness is the “secret sauce” of good media relations. It’s that key component for securing media coverage and building the kinds of reporter relationships that keep them coming back for more.
Of course, one person’s responsiveness may be another person’s what-the-heck-took-you-so-long, so let me elaborate.
When I was a reporter, my definition of responsive was replying to a reporter’s request as soon as you physically can. That means, if you get an email from a reporter who wants to talk to your CEO or, if you’re a PR pro, one of your clients, you should reply to that reporter as soon as you get the message. Depending on the nature of the reporter’s email, your reply may be one line saying that you’ll check into it and get back to them as soon as you can.
That reply lets the reporter know that you’re aware of their story and you’re trying to help. It’s even better if you can let the reporter know when you’ll get back to them, and it’s better still if you can provide any guidance to the reporter on whether you think you’ll ultimately be able to fulfill that request.
There are two major benefits to this kind of responsiveness:
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