Series One: “Publicity Pro”

How to Get a Second Date

(with a journalist)

By Evan

You just had your first media placement with the journalist of your dreams, and everything went perfectly.  Now it’s time to take your relationship to the next level.  You may be a little bit nervous, but these five tips will help you turn that first date into a long-term relationship.

  1. Stalk them on Facebook. Familiarize yourself with your journalist’s interests.  What topics do they like to cover?  Which outlets publish their work?  The strongest relationships are built off of common interests, so be sure that your second story is something they would actually cover.  Take the time to read some of their work too, which will let you refer back to it during your conversations.  You may open by complimenting one of their recent stories, then segue into pitching your similar story they may also be interested in.
  2. Thank them without thanking them. You may want to thank them for doing such an excellent job covering your first story (which is why you can’t wait to see what they do with this next one).  Flatter the journalist by complimenting their writing style, their attention to detail, or the quality of their work, but don’t thank them for covering your story.  Remember that the journalist didn’t cover your story to do you a favor; they covered your story because they wanted to do it.
  3. Actually talk to them. Set up an appointment to meet with your journalist in person, over phone, or over video chat.  Email is acceptable for scheduling meetings or sending documents, but it is nearly impossible to build a strong relationship over email.  Holding a real conversation with your journalist will help both of you get to know each other better.  If you can, try to meet them at an industry event or a trade show.
  4. Let them know you respect their time. Emphasize that your meeting will be brief, and be flexible to working within the constraints of your journalist’s schedule.  Instead of just asking your journalist if they are free at 1:15, you might ask if they can meet with you from 1:15 to 1:30.  If you are meeting in person, ask to meet at their office or a nearby location like a coffee shop.
  5. Be assertive. Instead of asking your journalist when or where they would like to meet, offer a specific time and location.  If you do this, your journalist is more likely to accept your offer, or counteroffer by suggesting a time and location that works for them.  When you do meet with your journalist, don’t expect them to drive the conversation there either.  Instead of asking them what they want to write about, come prepared with your story and tell them what they want to write about.

Following these steps won’t get you a second date every time, but you’ll be surprised by how often journalists want to get to know you better.  Just keep developing strong relationships with your media contacts, and soon you’ll be picking up journalists like a publicity pro.

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