In my opinion, this is the most important part of being successful with press release campaigns. You need to start building up your network with important media contacts in your industry.
Journalists, writers, bloggers, industry leaders with a lot of Twitter followers — anyone who is a considered an authority in your field – should be contacted and cultivated.
This extra work can mean the difference between being ignored and getting picked up by the media. Sometimes you only need to be picked up by one ”right” person and the rest will follow.
There are different ways to start building relationships with media contacts:
a. If a writer published something about you or your company, always send a personal thank you note.
b. Follow them and other important key people in the industry on Twitter and engage in their conversations.
c. Give feedback and comment on their personal blogs.
d. Write custom-made content especially for that person’s niche.
e. Anytime you go to a seminar or a conference, find out what key media contacts will be there and try to meet them in person.
Send a personal thank you note
This one is truly a no brainer. With Google Alerts you can easily track who is writing about you or your company. Simply go to the page and find the writer or editor who wrote the article.
Once you have the name you can easily find their email address. Take a couple minutes of your time to send a personal thank you note through email. A lot of times you will get a positive email back.
You’ve now laid the foundation of a long and strong relationship with this person. I also would look this person up on Twitter and start following and engaging this person.
Follow key figures on Twitter
Start following important figures from your industry on Twitter. This is great way to not only connect and start interacting with them, but to get new ideas for your next press release.
If you do come up with a new idea for a press release, mention this person in your press release, something like: ”I came up with this idea after reading a tweet from <Key Figure>, who said …”
There are a lot of great tools out there that can help you find new, important and interesting people on Twitter. There are Twitter directories like www.twellow.com where you can search people by topic.
Use a service like www.tweetalarm.com to get notified every time someone tweets about you or your company. And believe me: you will see a lot of people retweeting your press release. A good way to build up more relationships is to send a reply back to each person thanking them for tweeting about you.
Give feedback and comment on key figures’ blogs
Use tools like www.alltop.com, www.technorati.com or blogsearch.google.com to find influential bloggers. These bloggers are worth connecting to and they also might be interested in writing about your news.
So how do you build up a relationship with them? Easy! Read their blog and give feedback on their blog posts. Make sure your responses are genuine and factual.
Don’t just say, “Hi, I love your blog” or some meaningless drivel like that. You’re not trying to flatter them, you’re trying to engage in the conversation and build yourself up as a credible source of information for their future blogs.
Write custom content
If you know a specific blogger is writing a lot about a specific niche, you’ll increase your chances of getting your next release being published by this blogger if your next release happens to be right up their alley. In fact, that’s the whole idea! Below is one of my custom press release for niche site I created for EBusiness Reviews which was picked by International Business Times.
Meet them in person
If you ever go to a seminar or conference, try to find out if one (or more) of your key figures also is attending. Make a point of meeting them in person. This is a very effective way to establish and build strong relationships.
What’s your opinion on building relationship with writers and editors?