When it comes to media relations, I’m a traditionalist. Email has its value, and reaching out over social media works every once in a while, but in my experience, nothing beats a real-life conversation when you’re trying to really communicate a message.
Conversations enable give and take, and they allow you to adapt through the course of a conversation. So if you hear, for instance, that what you thought was compelling isn’t for a certain writer, you can clue them into something up their alley.
I use the phone for the vast majority of my work, but I know the very best conversations happen face to face. I just wrapped up a New York media tour for one of my clients, and it drove home – again – how very much you can do in just 20 minutes with the right person.
In 20 minutes in the Freedom Tower, we sampled products, talked through upcoming issues and new editorial direction, shared experiences working with bloggers and generated story ideas.
In 20 minutes in the Hearst building, we got nutritional feedback from an expert, shared new products (leaving lots of samples) and cemented a relationship that’s been building over two years.
In 20 minutes in New Jersey, my colleague Kristen (also in NY for her own client’s tour) shared a meeting to talk client news, learn about future story opportunities, hear about the publication’s recipe development and sample delicious treats from both our clients.
We don’t yet know which of these meetings will map to a specific story, but the opportunity to engage with these writers, our key contacts, is invaluable. We learn as much from them as we work to convey about our clients, and it’s a boost to the relationships we are building. And, of course, there’s nothing like New York in February – just ask my umbrella, which gave up its life in the service of relationship building.