It’s pretty simple: stronger relationships with journalists mean greater chances of winning earned media.
For a Canadian startup like yours, having strong bonds with a prominent industry journalist makes life much easier when you’re pitching and executing a PR strategy. Many startups are unsure how to build relationships with journalists.
So, to help you on your way, here are the tried and tested methods that our media outreach team swear by, and a few trusty examples.
First things first, get to know the journalists you want to build relationships with by engaging with their content:
James McLeod of the Financial Post, for instance, regularly writes and retweets articles around the Canadian startup scene with a special focus on high-growth tech startups. Regular shares and likes from business council Canadian Innovators led to McLeod retweeting a guest article they produced for the FP:
Even these days, nothing really beats a face-to-face introduction when building a relationship. And the best place to do this is at industry events. But be strategic to get the most out of your attendance:
Another option is to host your own events, including workshops, round-table discussions and hackathons. These are great ways to build up and interact with an engaged community. But more importantly, you can also use it as a reason to invite journalists by offering them positions on judging panels or speaking roles.
The Canadian tech startup conference True North is run by accelerator Communitech. True North has grown to become one of Canada’s most sought-after tech conventions and winning Communitech mentions in the likes of TechCrunch and Entrepreneur.
Whenever a journalist accepts a pitch or writes up a press release you’ve sent, send them a brief thank you email and comment on what you liked about the piece. Then mention in your email that you’re always available as an expert source on the subject in the future.
With rejections, receiving a “thanks but no thanks” always feels a little disheartening. But you should view the fact the influencer replied to you as a positive, seeing as:
Once you’ve met a journalist, been introduced or had a pitch accepted, it’s vital you keep the conversation going. Here are some things to consider:
So by investing a bit of time and energy in the right places, building relationships with journalists becomes very accessible. And once you’ve built those relationships, you’ll be much more successful at winning press coverage. On top of that, you may also find yourself in the ultimate position where journalists come to you as their go-to source.
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