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  • Writer's pictureEat PR & Marketing

Five top tips on how to engage a journalist


A partnership between a journalist and a PR professional is valuable – so long as both sides understand and respect each other’s needs. As a leading hospitality PR agency, Eat PR & Marketing is all about building trust and engaging with journalists through its focused and professional, yet personable approach. Here are five simple, yet effective tips on how our team achieves this:


Doing your homework is key

Journalists will always appreciate those PR agencies who have done their research, not just on their publications, but also on them. Researching what they write about, who they work for and their writing style not only helps PR's with their pitch and how to tailor it to each journalist, but it also gives the journalist confidence in the PR- that they know them and their publication, inside out. Doing your research will also help you decide whether journalists would be interested in writing about a particular topic, and whether they have written about a similar topic before. Journalists appreciate unique, personalised communications that show them that PR agencies are paying attention and that they are critically thinking about what’s right for their publication. When forming any new relationships with journalists, we make it our business to really immerse ourselves in getting to know the journalist, business and publication. Understanding a journalist’s needs and being able to meet their demands is a must for our agency - something we, as experienced PR professionals, are hugely passionate about.


Engaging and checking-in is a must

Ensuring that the relationship between a PR agency and a journalist is a two-way street is key. In fact, this could make or break a relationship, particularly for journalists. The last thing journalists want is to feel that they are only being approached by PR's when they need something. Become a familiar face and keep engaging. Consider planning regular coffee meetings to learn a journalist’s focus areas and interests. Or simply, read their articles and let them know your thoughts. Identify stories you find interesting and engage in a conversation. At Eat PR & Marketing, we offer a genuine approach when engaging with journalists and really see the value in face-to-face interactions. We love nothing more than to catch up with journalists over coffee or a bite to eat. But it’s about respecting a journalist’s time. A simple acknowledgement on social media or a quick email to share your appreciation for their work, whether it includes your clients or not, can also go a long way.


Listening to journalists is simple, yet effective

Not listening to journalists is one of their biggest bugbears and could be detrimental to whether a press release makes the cut or not. Listening to journalists and paying attention to what their needs are is imperative to maintaining a positive working relationship with them going forward. If they tell you not to offer interviews, for example, don’t offer interviews. If they want images sent with press releases, then send them exactly that. Pay attention to their preferences and tailor their needs to suit their business. Also, honesty is always the best policy. Journalists are more likely to engage with PR agencies who are honest, right from the offset. One our key principles is transparency, and we thrive on delivering this to each and every one of our journalist contacts, along with a warm, friendly service - and a smile, of course.


Optimising social media as a way of engaging

The use of social media for news has changed over the last few years - particularly for journalists. The likes of X (formerly known as Twitter) and Instagram are now used not only to find, but also to distribute news. With this in mind, optimising social media channels to comment on articles, sharing journalist’s work as well as tagging them in posts, for instance, is an effective way of engaging with them. Not only will this build a rapport with journalists, but it also shows how active you are as an agency. At Eat PR & Marketing, we are highly responsive when it comes to social media and believes it is an essential tool to not only engage and communicate with journalists but to also stay ahead of the curve when it comes to industry trends and updates.

The follow up - getting this right is fundamental

How PR’s follow up with journalists after sending out a press release is crucial to maintaining a positive relationship moving forward. The last thing PR’s want to do is become that agency that is known for bombarding journalists with loads of emails and phone calls. You don’t want to come across as pushy, but you do want to show that you’re attentive and haven’t just sent out a press release without caring who picks it up and who doesn’t - it’s a balancing act. Here at Eat PR & Marketing we are all about respect and highly appreciate a journalist’s time and space to read our email and respond accordingly. When we send an email to a journalist but haven’t heard back then we will respectfully follow up once and will then leave it there. However, we always keep the door open for other opportunities. Maintaining close relationships with journalists also makes the following-up process much easier. It helps us to understand any ‘pinch points’ journalists may have in terms of press dates and deadlines - and know when is a good time to reach out to them. Patience is absolutely paramount at this point when engaging with journalists and could make or break a relationship. We ensure that all our follow up emails or calls are personable and friendly, yet professional - which for the team, comes naturally to them.


Looking for support?

If you're looking to start engaging with journalists or you're hoping to better engage with journalists but need further support, then please get in touch by emailing info@eatpr.co.uk. We would love to chat with you about how we can help you and your business.

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