New to PR: How to Build a Network?
February 23, 2017 1:24 PM   Subscribe

How appropriate is it to just email trade publication editors to introduce myself? Or how should I go about building a network?

I am in a new position that has me doing some PR. I would like to build relationships with editors/writers for trade publications in my industry. How do I go about doing that? We just launched a new product and the press release go out on Newswire, can send the trade pub editors an email introducing myself and sharing the release? Or will it get me blacklisted? I looked on their sites and there weren't links to upload press releases. What is the best way to get this release into their hands and get them to work with me in the future?

I appreciate the guidance and handholding - reaching out to strangers always makes me nervous, and building a network from scratch (the gal who had my position before left no contacts for me) is such a daunting task it feels like that I am paralyzed from dread.
posted by xicana63 to Work & Money (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You could always ask them. If you're building a network from scratch it's going to take you 6 months to a year to get traction. A good PR program should be combined with compelling content, to give reporters something to talk about (this is the biggest problem I have when working with tech companies -- the is not much of a story to tell, and nobody wants to reprint a news release about product features).

Anyway, besides getting really active on Twitter, with your prospects you can just ask them how they prefer to be approached:

Email subject: What's the best way to submit news releases?

Dear (firstname),

What's the best way to submit news releases?


posted by My Dad at 2:39 PM on February 23, 2017

It's fine. They are editors not magicians. They've no way of knowing what stories you have unless you send them your shit.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:40 PM on February 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

I used to be a trade publication editor, and now I've crossed over to in-house PR.

Definitely email them! Introduce yourself, very briefly summarise the press release and why it's relevant to their readers, and include the full text of it at the bottom of your email (don't use an attachment). Also link to the statement on your website.

Before you email, read a bunch of their stuff and make sure you have a really good sense of their publication.

Bonus tip: Email is the right way to go. Don't call. This is not universal, I'll admit, but in my experience journalists are busy, and also they don't want to be put on the spot: Here's my press release, will you run it please? Send it and let them read it at their leisure. If it's good, they'll contact you.

Best of luck.
posted by reshet at 3:31 PM on February 23, 2017

Back when I was an active journalist, I much preferred email. So I agree with reshet. The PR people I actually liked did even more. They would sometime pitch article ideas that my readers would be interested in that did not include their clients as the main/only focus but who fit into the story in some way. Or they sometimes sent me info unrelated to their clients but related to what I covered just to be nice.

That may not work at all for you but I did appreciate the pros who paid attention to the publication I was working for and the areas I covered instead of just randomly spamming me. The only problem is that some clients or bosses don't get it and prefer to measure success by the number of releases issues rather than how well they are targeted. So yup, good luck!
posted by Bella Donna at 6:18 PM on February 23, 2017

I used to coordinate the external (freelance) PR team as part of my outreach job for a company, and they told me how they approached this sort of thing: They would email individual editors and writers, introduce themselves and the company, and find out if they wanted to be informed of new press releases, or whether we could be a source of experts for them for particular stories, etc. Basically, for each outlet/journalist they would have a custom approach. In some cases, they would even make an info pack that was tailored around a hot topic that the magazines might want to cover, and that highlighted specifically how we were involved.
posted by easternblot at 7:04 AM on February 24, 2017

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