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A key piece of advice for any writer or blogger today, especially if you cover arts and entertainment, is to develop a relationship with the media relations personnel in your field.
Why? Because publicists are essentially gatekeepers who can connect you with major brands and public figures. For example, if you’re a book blogger who would like to interview an author, you might reach out to the author’s publicist to set up the interview. If you’re a beauty writer, the publicist for a cosmetics company could be a gold mine of information on new product launches.
So, how do you start building relationships with media relations professionals?
If you’re reaching out to a brand, scan the company website for a “Press” or “Media” page that lists contact information for a PR representative.
If that fails, head to the “Contact” page. If you can’t find a PR contact, don’t worry. Smaller businesses and public figures don’t always hire a publicist, so you may end up connecting directly to someone within the organization. On the other hand, major global brands have large media relations teams dispersed across the world, so be sure to track down the right contact for your country.
Another trick for finding publicist contact information is to look at a company’s recent press releases; these are often published on a “News” or “Media” page. Check the top and bottom of the release to see if a media contact is listed.
Now that you’ve found a publicist, it’s time to make an introduction. Send an email letting them know who you are and why you’re reaching out. A strong introduction clearly explains your interest in the brand or public figure and includes a link to your blog or website.
Here’s an example:
Dear Ms. Martin,
My name is _____, and I’m a blogger at _____. I see that you represent _____, and I would love to stay in touch about your client’s upcoming album releases and events. Please feel free to add me to your media list and reach out with any news.
Thanks, and I look forward to working with you!
After you send your introduction, a few things might happen:
The publicist writes back immediately and shares tons of useful nuggets that you can use on your blog.
The publicist writes back with a polite “thanks” and says they’ll stay in touch.
The publicist doesn’t respond at all (hey, we’ve all been there — inbox zero is still a pipe dream for most of us).
It’s okay to check in with media relations reps occasionally to see if they have news to share. But remember, it’s a professional relationship: don’t be a pest, and respect the publicist’s time. They most likely represent multiple brands and clients and are juggling many projects behind the scenes.
Once you understand that publicists are the keepers of information and access, you can see why you should develop strong relationships with the ones in your field. You may not get exclusive news or celebrity access right away, but you’re building relationships for the long run. Ultimately, a strong working relationship based on mutual respect and trust is sure to pay off.
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