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5 Ways to Get on the Media's Good Side (and Stay There) When you're trying to make a name and a mark for yourself and your business, it's really important to get on the media's good side — and stay there.

By Emily Reynolds Bergh

Key Takeaways

  • Stay in touch.
  • Be assertive but not aggressive, persistent but not pesky.
  • Show your personality in your outreach, which will allow the recipients of your efforts to show a little of theirs in kind.
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In this on-screen world we all share, the surest way to get your business noticed is through all the various media channels people see on their devices, whether that's inclusion in newsfeeds, articles in online news outlets, featured segments on TV shows, appearances on podcasts, video clips on YouTube or, of course, promotional bits across all the other ubiquitous social media platforms.

And how do you get on those channels? Through media people themselvesall the journalists, reporters, influencers, and publication writers and editors who receive your pitches, read your press releases, view your videos and decide who will get a chance to appear onstage … and who will linger in the wings.

But anyone and everyone is vying for the media's attention. You can significantly increase your odds of getting some by establishing friendly relations with your contact people and outlets of choice. As a 20-year public relations veteran, here are some of my tips and tricks of the trade for forming viable and valuable connections with the media.

Let's start off by emphasizing that the goal here isn't just to get on the media's good side; even more importantly, you want to stay away from their bad side by refraining from annoying habits and intrusions. Follow these guidelines, and you'll have friends in the sandbox with you in no time!

Habit #1: Be (a little) patient

Rome wasn't built in a day, nor will your company's empire. As you're trying to grow your reputation and industry standing, you can't expect immediate responses from media people, who get thousands — literally thousands — of inquiries a week. If you haven't heard back for a while, you can follow up the same week you initially reached out, but never the same day or even the next day.

Some news is timely, yes, like your Fourth of July promotion or your Christmas Wish List idea, so it's understandable you'd get antsy waiting for a response. But it's on you, not the media contact, to make sure your pitches are submitted in time to get them in front of the right eyes. For items that aren't time-sensitive, patience will get you further than prodding. I'm not saying to just wait around and hope for the best; I'm saying to wait a respectful amount of time for the individual to field and research your message, which shows respect for their role and the pressures they're under.

Related: 8 Etiquette Tips to Stay on the Good Side of the Media

Habit #2: Reinforce instead of repeat

When it is appropriate to nudge a little? Don't just send the exact same message, duplicating the original content. Rather, add something new of value to your message — something that makes your pitch even stronger or more appealing.

Say you're trying to get coverage for a new wellness supplement; you can remind the media person that you sent them an email on so-and-so date, but then explain that they might also like to know that your product comes in at a 20% lower price point than its closest competitor and include a testimonial from a satisfied customer. Now they have more information to lure them, not just the same information you previously sent.

Habit #3: Communicate, don't just contact

Reaching out to the media should entail more than just "making contact." What you want to make is impact. You do that by crafting your submissions into meaningful communication as opposed to just a dry inquiry of interest. Embed links the reader can follow to get more detail. Include a really well-selected image or two to add visual interest. Invite the media person to engage with the content somehow.

Example: My firm recently submitted a pitch for National Margarita Day for one of my restaurant clients. We incorporated a captivating image of a frothy marg in a stunning glass next to a plate of mouthwatering nachos. We promised the TV producer that if they booked a demo segment with our client's master bartender, they'd get to sample the drinks and eats afterward.

Habit #4: Get personal

The more you "send out" to the media, the more you'll "take in" about particular contacts and relationships you're forging. For instance, you might hear back from someone who apologizes for not getting back to you sooner because they were out on maternity leave. Or a reply might mention that they'll follow up with you when they return from vacation.

When and if you acquire personal intel like this, file it away and use it! Make sure your next message congratulates them on their new parenthood or asks how their vacation went. You can even add a line about your own parenting experience or recall a great restaurant you tried when you went to Barbados too. There's so much formality and form-letter-type communications in media relations that when something comes over with a bit of sincerity and warmth, it'll stand out more.

Related: 3 Ways to Attract Media Coverage

Habit #5: Practice perseverance

You know that mom you see at the soccer games who seems really cool and interesting? That guy you see in the cafeteria whose fashion style you admire? You asked her to lunch, but she couldn't go that day. You approached him to introduce yourself, and he said he was sorry, but he had to answer his ringing phone. If you genuinely hope to make a connection with this person, you gotta keep extending your hand, extending the invitation, extending effort.

The same applies to connecting with the media. If a pitch doesn't get picked up, don't take it personally, just pitch again another day, another way. Instead of making your outreach about "Look at me, publish me, promote me!" make it about how what you're pitching will benefit the media person's audience, readership or followership.

Stay in touch. Be assertive but not aggressive, persistent but not pesky. Show your personality in your outreach, which will allow the recipients of your efforts to show a little of theirs in kind.

All these tips might not land you what you're looking for right of the gate. But you'll be more welcome at the door and you'll be closer to your goal of establishing a two-way, mutually beneficial relationship — maybe even a friendship — with a select group of media personnel influential in your area of business.

Emily Reynolds Bergh

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Founder at R Public Relations Firm

Emily Reynolds Bergh — vintage-shoe hoarder, cycling junkie, & lover of pink drinks — is a marketing & PR pro with 15+ years of experience under her belt. Now the founder & owner of the award-winning R Public Relations based in New York, she’s been featured in numerous publications & podcasts.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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