Our CEO, Dan Simon, moderated a panel today at Lendit2016, the world’s largest online lending conference.
Dan led the panelists — Ari Levy, tech reporter at CNBC; Joy Wiltermuth, bond reporter at Reuters; and Mark Calvey, banking reporter at the San Francisco Business Times — through a conversation on building stronger media relationships for the long-term.
Ultimately, the panel agreed that companies and their people should focus on something many find counterintuitive: that the best practice is to build relationships when they aren’t immediately needed.
It’s difficult to build an authentic, balanced relationship with a reporter when you’re pitching a story — after all, the very nature of the pitch is to ask a reporter to do something they probably wouldn’t do on their own. But reporters are well-versed in this routine and have come to expect it, so initiating contact when you aren’t pushing any particular news or theme is one positive way to get reporters’ attention.
Other advice the panelists gave include:
- Relevance & timeliness are key. Pitching out-of-date or irrelevant ideas shows you’re not interested in helping the reporter write for their readers.
- Attention to detail still matters. Whether it’s spelling mistakes or getting your facts wrong, sloppiness of all sorts turns reporters off.
- Email is still preferable to phone calls, Twitter shouts, or other forms of contact.
Outside of this advice, we at Vested urge our clients and peers to become experts on the process by which reporters get information. That means knowing exactly how to use embargoes, when and how to go off the record, and what a well-executed trial balloon looks like. These are a few of the tools an effective media relations team keeps close to their belt.