Tips to strengthen your media relations during the pandemic
On 30 June 2020, we complete six months into 2020. Surprised? Me too. Time is flying! Covid-19 has changed our lives and taught us the importance of ‘being flexible’ and ‘ability to adapt’. Words like remote working, business continuity, Zoom calls, social distancing, and lockdown are now a part of our day to day dictionary.
There’s no doubt that the Coronavirus has changed our approach towards marketing and PR initiatives. While many brands have decided to halt external communications, most brands continue to communicate as normal but for the media, the show never stops.
With partial lockdown and the holy month of Ramadan, it’s very important to understand how to communicate with the media and strengthen your relationship with them. Here are some noteworthy tips:
- It’s time to be emotionally intelligent: This is a very sensitive period for all of us. We don’t know who is going through a rough situation and how they are trying to overcome these tough times. So have a heart before picking up the phone and trying to randomly sell your product releases etc. Ensure that you drop a text and ask the journalist if they are doing okay or is it okay to give them a quick call.
- Crisis calls for media auditing: Crisis or no crisis – before pitching anything to a journalist you must understand what they are currently covering and if your pitch fits the bill. If you notice that a journalist is only covering Coronavirus specific stories, then make sure you analyze the stories and question yourself whether your client can add value to these stories. If not, don’t force it. This is the best time to build trust and relationships.
- Say goodbye to the ‘spray and pray technique’: There is no harm in asking journalist especially those with whom you work on a regular basis if they are open to covering a non-crisis story. If they say that their focus is only crisis specific stories, then ask when a good time would be to reach out to them. It’s better than using the ‘spray and pray’ technique and spamming them pitches and releases. You would not want great pitches to go into a journalist’s junk folder. It’s better to be patient and wait for the right time.
- Don’t cross the line: A journalist’s job can be challenging especially during the pandemic. Many of us follow them on social media to understand what they are covering and how are they doing. Do not start pitching your stories on social media unless you have established that kind of relationship. Make thoughtful comments and avoid leaving too many direct messages.
During these unusual times, your approach and words are going to have a huge impact on the journalists. So put in the right efforts, lend a helping hand, and try to make their life easier.
By Komal Mishra, Senior Communications Executive, Active DMC