They love me, they love me not. They love me, they love me not. How do you get that journalist to just love your brand and what you have to say? It’s a tricky question, but it’s an important one to ask. Public relations professionals need to build strong relationships with the media. It’s a huge part of the job. If you’re feeling a little uncertain about how to start, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. We turned to the experts to get the answer to this questions:
How do you build an online image that journalists will love?
The MarTechExec takeaway
“Public relations has changed a lot over the years, but having the “in” with journalists still remains an important part of the job. Understanding what a journalist wants to see, being authentic with them, and having a unique angle will go a long way in helping secure your position with them.”
The expert takeaways
- Make sure you're showing your true colors
- Everybody likes a thought leader
- Be the human Google
- Don't play hard to get
- Let them know there's no one like you
- R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Find out what it means to journalists
- Get your kit together! Your Electronic Press Kit, that is
- Robbert Baruch
- Heike Bedrich
- Julie Bonn Blank
- Stephanie Boncich
- Philippe Borremans
- Reb Carlson
- Pete Codella
- Lindsey Davies
- Gini Dietrich
- Todd Hauptman
- Dan Janal
- Christian P. Krohne
- Dan Laske
- Robert Minton-Taylor
- Jason Mollica
- Erika Taylor Montgomery
- Jeremy Pepper
- Alison Podworski
- Steve Schuster
- Bianca Smith
- Joan Stewart
- Ann Marie Van den Hurk
- Martin Waxman
- Lauren Wolff
- Sue Zoldak
Make sure you’re showing your true colors
“Companies should be aware of their Online Image, by offering their company profile in a transparent and comprehensible explanations in several ways, like the owned website, newsrooms or social media channels.
It is worthwhile to use companies data, make meaningful statements from representatives and allow employees to share their own voices with the public.
Employees can offer a great impact into public relations, because they are seen to act like the real advocates. They can influence the work of journalism through real statements and advocacy.”
“Be positive but be authentic. Journalists want to be in touch with someone real, someone knowledgeable and someone who is giving them solid facts and a good story idea.”
“Authentic, engaging and unique content online is key to create an online image that journalists will appreciate. It is essential that you keep your social media channels free from sales pitches as much as possible.
This kind of content will scare journalists away from your content. Let your online image be a professional reflection of you but don't lose yourself in the content."
“An online image is like the greens at Pebble Beach. It needs constant tending, every blade matters, and it feels both welcoming and intimidating at the same time.
Journalists are drawn to people who are strong and opinionated, but your online brand shouldn't be built just to deliver that message. It should deliver you.”
“For journalists to love you, you have to be human, interesting and consistent. But still, don't think that journalists will flock to you. For them to be able to find you means you have to be in their scope once in awhile.
Blog, Facebook and Twitter at times. Be retweeted. Be relevant."
“Your online image, or brand, absolutely must evoke honesty. Along with that honesty, it's integral to show an understanding of issues and topics of interest to journalists.
As a former producer in television and radio, I always looked for experts who not only were a good quote but also didn't give "canned" answers. Understanding the topic is very important, however, it is also good to have an expert that has personality.
All of these things aren't done overnight, though. Your online brand takes some time to grow. So, don't expect to be on a journalist's speed dial or email list until you prove your worth, ethics, and honesty.”
Everybody likes a thought leader
“Your online and offline images should be the same. Build a solid reputation by providing thoughtful insights and commentary on issues and topics you are passionate and knowledgeable about.
That can be done by sharing solid content either you have written or read and adding an insight, using an appropriate hashtag, as well as participating in chats where you share your knowledge in a non-salesy way. Moving on to relationships with journalists.
Remember, journalists want information. They want resources. They want sources they can trust and are reliable. Don't be afraid to suggest someone you know as a content expert to a journalist.
Journalists are pressed for time so the better contacts they have the easier for them to do their job. Be that person who makes their job easier. One smart tip is to follow and interact with journalists you wish to establish connections with, especially if they are industry media.”
“Journalists don't need to love you, the ‘only’ thing you need to be to them is a trusted resource. This means that you really need to be an online thought leader.
Some requirements to get there; 1) Be always up to date with the latest developments and news within your field of expertise. Read and analyse news just like a reporter, connect like a lobbyist and be present (or even better, participate) at the conferences/roundtables/events in your field. 2) Publish your thoughts online and make it personal. Have an opinion, don't just go with the general flow or republish blindly. Add value, character and sometimes controversy on hot topics.
3) Use Twitter & email. Every journalist who respects its trade is on Twitter. Connect with those reporters in your field and answer their questions when they publish one. Be of service to your business community and set up a regular & personal email newsletter with curated information about your niche. 4) Be easy to find online. Have at a minimum an online profile next to Linkedin and make sure you clearly position yourself. Don't forget the perfect (professional) headshot and share your next keynote or article/newsletter.”
“Just like most professionals, journalists love no-bullshit authenticity. So first and foremost, your online image (or personal brand) must be consistently honest, with online behavior that demonstrates to journalists that you are a resource of meaningful, authentic and inherently credible value.
Your online social presence and behaviors should be no different than the things that make a person socially popular IRL (in real life). Prove through your online behavior that you are a skilled and respectful conversationalist who engages through listening and actually participating in conversations, as opposed to being an open-loop "mic hog" that just talks incessantly 'at' others.
When you post on social platforms, think about whether your followers and connections, including journalists, will learn something new and of value from your content. This is key: write posts that demonstrate to journalists that you are a go-to resource as a genuine thought leader with something meaningful, original and authentic to contribute to the narrative. Don't be lazy and inauthentic by just parroting or blindly reposting the thoughts of others.
Finally, when you repost published articles, be sure to give some love to the authoring journalist - always give them a "via" credit of authorship by including their channel-specific social handle in your original text via the @ sign - this works on all social platforms.
Even better, post a significant pull quote from the article to show you actually read it and valued what the journalist had to say.
Together, this all builds an online image that is respectful not just of the influential role journalists play in shaping market perceptions, but of the potential for a true storytelling partnership between journalists and PR professionals.”
Be the human Google
“Find the right balance between informative and creative. Look for ways to showcase your successes and talk about outcomes as much as activities. Journalists appreciate experts and sources who are accessible, so be sure it’s easy for them to get ahold of you and that you’re responsive.
Use good, professional photography and videography. Ensure all your content is titled, described and tagged appropriately to help maximize search placement for important keywords and phrases.
And finally, represent yourself with integrity so the person online is the same as you are in the real world.”
“Show your stuff and be engaged on social media. If you've built relationships with journalists, AND have shown your expertise, you've made it easier for journalists when they need a source.”
“Create compelling content that you can share across social media channels to show that you are a credible writer, in turn making you a viable resource for a journalist.
Also, tweet and engage with other influencers so that journalists have a good idea of the topics that you are interested in and those that you or your clients are able to comment on.”
“Journalists today are reviewed based on pageviews and social shares of their articles. While some of that is certainly vanity-driven, it's the world we live in. Because they want to have good reviews and receive raises, just like the rest of us, they look to work with sources who can help them, while they help you.
To that end, if you have thoughtful and insightful content on your website or blog that is updated frequently (at least once a week), you prove to journalists that you can provide value to their readers.
If you have social networks that are active and engaging, you prove to journalists that you can help extend their networks by sharing the article where they feature you.
If you share their content, outside of that which features you, you'll begin to build a relationship with a journalist who will want to continue to work with you. This isn't to say you can't get their attention if you don't have these things, but an efficient, engaged, thoughtful online image will always do better than not.”
Don’t play hard to get
“Reporters need comments in a flash! Be sure you are easy to reach. List your cell phone number so they can contact you quickly.
If you have a switchboard, include your extension number. If they send texts or emails, respond quickly.”
“It really depends on what you mean with an online image; is this the online footprint for the company or the online branding, like personal brands?
The key, though, is making everything available online. Too often, companies (and in particular startups) do not provide all the needed assets and information online. Think like a reporter that has been pitched by your company.
They want to find out more information? Yes, they're going to use Google but they'll also go to the corporate news site and will look for information.
Yes, they'll look at social media, but the basics and assets should all be available online. Logos, bios, backgrounders, white papers, headshots - all those things that help make up the story of the company.”
“Six points to consider.
(1) Journalists want to source people easily who can comment expertly on a topic for news and features.
(2) So, ensure that you have information on your website tailored to the media.
(3) You can do this by showcasing your expertise online – such as writing you own blogs, say on LinkedIn or pertinent articles on other websites.
(4) The more you do this the more likely it will be that journalists will seek you out for comment.
(5) Ensure too that your contact details – and that includes, landline, mobile, and email address - are easy to find on your website.
(6) There’s nothing more infuriating to journalists than finding an organization’s contact details hidden under a raft of tabs or having to complete a contacts form to get a reply. That’s a real turn-off for journos.”
“In order to be recognized as an influencer in your area of expertise, first make it very clear in your social profiles what your interests are and topics you cover.
The more niche and specific the topics the better, as it makes you stand out. Posting frequently and consistently engaging with your audience are two other traits that show you are influential within your online community.”
“Here are my five best tips:
- Include contact information on every page of your website. Yes, every page. That includes a phone number, optional mobile number, shipping address and email address. If using a Contact form, give visitors the option of emailing you from their email program. Include your email address on the Contact form page.
- Include a headshot in an easy-to-find location, either on your homepage or in your press room or media kit. Don't make it hard for anyone to see what you look like.
- Include buttons that link to your social media profiles.
- Make your blog a part of your website.
- Explain your areas of expertise on your homepage. Don't make visitors guess what you do.”
“I focus on responsiveness and being a resource for other people. If you are responsive to all in a timely matter, and friendly, you become known for that. There is never an excuse to ignore others, unless they are stalking you or have been inappropriate.
If they have a legit request and you cannot help them, tell them so. But better yet, try to find someone who can help them (that's the extra step people usually do not take).
If I think I can help them, but need to check on things or research first, I let them know that I will get back to them and then I make sure that it happens. My only downfall here is when Gmail buries my emails. Argh. :-)”
Let them know there’s no one like you
“First of all, you have to have something to say - a unique story or POV. And you want to tell it in a way that showcases your personality and perspective. That means expressing yourself using not just words, but multimedia too. Creativity counts.
Google yourself to find out what comes up when someone types in your name. Is that what you want people to discover? If not, create content that shows who you are, what makes you stand out, and why people should trust you.
Think about your audience and what they want, and listen before you jump in. And know your story won't be the right fit for everyone, every time. Do your research and then start building a relationship. Social media may be fast, but relationships still take time.”
“In today's world where every person and organization is doing PR - or at least that's what they think they do - it is important to stand out so that your audience and especially journalists will recognize you and give you the spotlight you are aiming for. To me, a major key is being authentic and finding your own unique voice. Sharing your expertise on your own blog, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram etc. only gets you recognized if you talk about relevant topics presented in a creative way. So, whenever I want to talk or write about PR or Public Affairs I always ask myself: How can I discuss this subject in a way this hasn't been discussed about before? Can I bring some new fresh thoughts to the table or can I at least add something different to it?
It is very important to be consistent when building your online image. Many people wonder why they only get a little recognition, but they only put effort in building their personal brand as an expert in their field when they feel like it. In order to position yourself successfully as an expert, you have to write a couple articles a week while also reaching out to journalists and influencers in your field. Joining the conversation on social media will make you become a part of the conversation and eventually people will gain interest in what you have to say.”
“This is an important topic to all individuals and enterprises that depend on having a robust online presence to stay 'top of mind' and relevant with key audiences.
My primary goal as a digital PR professional and brand manager is to understand exactly how my client stands out from among competing brands. This applies to individuals and organizations as well. I believe that we all have a unique and (ultimately) endearing story to tell. Embracing our 'uniqueness' and telling our story in an authentic way is most appealing to both audiences and journalists. In short, content needs to consistently 'reveal' the most appealing elements of the subject without coming across as promotional. I have a client who's fond of saying: "show a little leg and leave them wanting more.” I think that applies here.
As much as journalists are interested in 'hard news,’ they are also interested in timely features and human interest stories. It's also worth noting that journalists have an interest in maintaining contacts who act as reliable sources of inside / industry-related information. Building an online image that journalists will love involves producing regular, timely and relevant content - including images. It also involves sharing more personal, background content that helps journalists and others know that there's an equally interesting backstory to pursue."
“Build a relationship with the journalist by researching what they cover before you pitch to personalize the pitch and don't send the same pitch to all journalists.”
R-E-S-P-E-C-T: What’s it mean to a journalist?
“You really have to understand how a journalist works and explain that to your followers. Provide valuable content that educates the public and your clients about how to pitch to a journalist, what to do and NOT do. You also want to share their stories on social media...even when your client is not in their story. If you respect a journalist, educate your followers about how the media works and provide valuable content, you are sure to create a great online image that journalists will love.”
Get your kit together! Your Electronic Press Kit, that is.
“To create an online profile journalists will love, start with creating a comprehensive Electronic Press Kit (EPK). An EPK is a one-stop place for the media to get all the info they need to write a story about your business.
It should be on an easy-to-find spot on your company’s website and include important details about your business, its history and the products or services you provide.
Don’t forget to include other information like media contacts, product/service cost, where the business is located and where products can be found, high resolution images, and of course, 2 to 3 story ideas for journalists to leverage if they choose.
Besides an EPK, you can make a good impression with the media by regularly keeping up with your company’s social media channels and posting on a daily basis.
There’s nothing worse than having a journalist visit your Facebook page only to see that you haven’t posted any new content for weeks, or worse, months!”