Meeting the press

Keeping the media up to date with the new products and services your organisation is launching is key to securing column inches in the publications you want to target.

Pitching a news item or article idea and keeping in regular contact with key journalists by phone and email can be very effective for getting your company’s name in print. But nothing beats a face-to-face meeting for building long-term relationships with the journalists writing about the issues that matter to you. This will, ultimately, ensure it’s your spokesperson’s name that comes to mind when they are looking for a quote from an industry expert.

Make the most of the big shows

Events such as BETT and The Public Procurement Show can provide great opportunities to meet the press. Many of the journalists and bloggers you want to speak to attend these shows. And the good news is, you can make arrangements to meet them there even if you are not exhibiting.

It is a good idea to start making contact with the people you would like to see at least a month before the show is due to take place. Press diaries can get booked up very quickly and time is precious at these events.

Exhibitions can be incredibly busy so make sure you have a quiet place to meet up. Larger events often provide a dedicated press area for these meetings. If you would like a little more time to chat, you could book a table at a local restaurant or hotel, but choose somewhere close to the show so you do not take the journalist out of the event for too long.

Invite the press to your event

Consider inviting a few select journalists to your annual conference or another appropriate event. This is particularly effective if you have customers with an interesting story to tell or you can put your guest in touch with a school, college or local authority willing to talk about what your products and services have helped them to achieve.

If the event takes place over a day or two, you could invite the journalists to stay for the duration and offer to provide them with overnight accommodation. This will give them more time to chat with your customers.

Why not do lunch?

A lunch date is also a great way for you to strengthen your relationships with the press.

Conversations over a leisurely lunch can be much more informal than they might be over the phone and you will have more time to find out what issues a journalist is planning to cover over the coming weeks and months. A lunch meeting is also a good opportunity for you to get the heads up on any staffing or style changes that might be on the cards for the publication and find out about any new magazines in the pipeline.

When you are inviting a journalist to lunch, make sure you can offer them something they will want to come out for. You might have a great story about a school that has used your product to improve their pupils’ literacy or clamp down on classroom disruption, for example. Having the head of the school there with you will increase the likelihood of you getting the coverage you want. Also choose a venue close to their office so they do not have to travel far to meet you.

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  • About the Author

    I was the first official employee of the business in 2005. I work across a number of clients, implementing their PR plans and working hard to ensure they ride the news wave whenever a big story hits. My first foray into PR began promoting local rock bands and I never looked back. Before education and my short stint in music PR, I worked as a security cleared civil servant in the Hong Kong government but if I tell you anything about that – well, you know how the line goes. When not at work, I am invariably singing. I am the vocal half of an acoustic duo and love to get out gigging.

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