How to sharpen your relationship with journalists

Just because PR pros have more direct connections with reporters via social media, that doesn’t mean courtesy and decorum should go by the wayside.

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The rules of relationship building with journalists (or anyone, really) have not really changed, but the rise of social media seems to have emboldened PR pros when it comes to cold pitches. Has social media made us so lazy that we have forgotten the rules about etiquette?

It’s a great time to “sharpen the saw,” as “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” author Stephen Covey put it.

Here are a few ways PR pros can sharpen their relationship-building skills with journalists:

There’s no golden ticket

Social media is not your golden ticket to a journalist. There are no shortcuts in life, and that definitely applies to relationship building.

Yes, thanks to the openness of social media, it’s easier to reach out and touch someone. I’ve been able to engage with people I never thought I might, but with that access comes responsibility.

We can communicate with people, including journalists, but that doesn’t mean the common rules of courtesy do not apply.

Send a clear message that you care about the relationship by starting on the right foot, being courteous, and showing respect.

Relationships with journalists are neither sprints nor marathons, but journeys. They are long-term investments that must be nurtured.

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