Many small business owners are intimidated by the thought of reaching out to the media. But if you avoid interacting wit reporters and journalists, you’re missing out on the chance to get valuable home builder publicity.
So how do you successfully build relationships with reporters? Here are five simple ways to effectively connect.
It may sound simple, but it’s very effective. When you read coverage by different journalists, you get to know which reporters cover what topics. And if you’re aiming for someone already writing about your industry, you’ll have greater success when you finally reach out . Check out your favorite newspapers or magazines and look for reporters already writing about home builders and home building. LinkedIn is great for finding journalists who work in your industry. Do a search for reporters and home building and you’ll come up with a list of relevant journalists. Read a few posts by these reporters and when you find ones you like, make note of their names and who they write for. Read them regularly and you'll start recognize the type and style of stories they cover.
Just like you, journalists are busy. They don’t have a great deal of time, if any, to waste. So when you deal with reporters get to the point. It’s best not to waste their time with lengthy home builder publicity pitches. Remember you aren’t the only person reaching out to them today. They’re likely already working to get something out by a deadline. Be succinct, straight to the point. You’ll get more success that way.
Twitter is a great social media platform to connect with reporters. Most journalists have a private twitter account, and it’s easy to follow several reporters or news sources that focus on home building. You don’t need to have a complicated set up on Twitter either, just your account. A quick tweet to a preferred journalist is a great way to break the ice.
There’s nothing like a face-to-face meeting to help build a relationship with a reporter. You can typically run into several industry specific journalists by attending industry events. And trade shows are an excellent way to see the latest in home builder publicity, and get to shake a few hands while you're there. And if you’ve already connected with a reporter on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, you can use that fact to start an conversation in person.
Keeping a positive attitude is essential to establishing rapport with journalists. Being positive increases the likelihood that you’ll not only connect with a reporter but develop a relationship that is long standing.
The best way to get home builder publicity from a reporter is to find out what they need, and give it to them. Consider trying the following:
- Is a journalist doing a series on local businesses? Get in touch and let them know about your local business;
- Is a reporter covering stories on new developments? A quick email telling them about your latest projects is sure to hit the mark;
- Can you talk about how trends are changing in home building? Make your contact relevant to capture the interest of a reporter.
Building a relationship with a reporter is no different than building any other professional relationship. Understand that they have a job to do. Find a way to make a journalist's job a little easier, and you’re in. Remember, reporters are people just like everyone else - just with a lot less free time.