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    Top PR Learnings From 2023 To Take Into The New Year

    2023: the crazy year in media that brought us smarter text-generating AI, the death of the Twitter blue checkmark, a surprise Twitter rebranding, and the closure of multiple media websites


    At OnePitch, 2023 was an exciting year. We interviewed nearly 50 journalists on our Coffee With a Journalist podcast from publications like Fortune, TIME, The Washington Post, and ELLE. We’ve learned a lot from these journalists and even more from our community on social media and at in-person events called Coffee With Journalists. We asked our community of publicists and PR professionals their tips, tricks, and advice learned in 2023 that they plan to take into 2024. 


    Relationships are number-one


    Over and over again, we heard that building authentic relationships with media contacts is most important. It makes sense: ‘relations’ is first in the media relations or public relations job titles. Rob Slaughter points out how pitching the media is a two-way street. Without building a relationship with the journalist that's built on mutual respect and trust, it becomes cold and transactional.


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    When we chatted with Moises Mendez II, a reporter at TIME Magazine, on episode 180 of Coffee With a Journalist, he shared how building relationships with PR professionals excites him to do his job. 


    “I like building relationships with the PR reps that I work with. Some of them are just really fun to hang out with, but also like having that relationship, they'll think of me for something that they can give me an exclusive on, or be the first person to know about.”


    Moises also emphasized how important it is that the relationship is beneficial to both the reporter and the publicist trying to pitch their story. 


    “I'm just thinking of a relationship that I recently made when I was interviewing someone last week. We were just talking about who else they rep, and what other things we could do together, and just talking about the possibilities of how to prolong this professional relationship that we have. That would be the best way to continue this friendship or relationship, just to keep it working for the both of us. I think that's the main part of having that relationship is like, we need to have something that works for us both.”


    If you’re thinking about ways to differentiate yourself as a great PR pro and build stronger media relationships in 2024, just be human. 



    Always say 'thank you' or follow up


    The best way to build authentic relationships with media is to treat them like you’d treat any other colleague or friend. That includes doing things like sending ‘thank you’ notes as a follow-up after they cover your story or interview a client. 


    Digital marketer and fractional CMO Nina Cleere shared how important thank you’s are, even when reporters are super busy. 



    When PR pros don’t check in or send a follow-up to a journalist, especially after an in-person event, it can hurt the relationship. Ian Kumamoto, a contributing writer for HuffPost, recently told us an event horror story on episode 194 of Coffee With a Journalist. 

    [0:10:43] IK: I got an invite to go to a restaurant, and they were like, come and try this food or this new dish. And I was really excited about it. And it was actually like the week of my birthday. I took the whole day off, and I was like – it was something I was looking forward to because I would have loved to write about them too because it was a Caribbean-owned restaurant. And I went there, and I told them the person at the front desk of like okay, I'm here from this email. And he had no clue what I was talking about. And he was like, "Oh, please. Can you wait at the bar?" I waited at the bar for like 20, 25 minutes, and I kept asking the staff if they knew if there was someone who was expecting writers. And no one knew.


    [0:11:31] BB: Well, let me ask you though. Let me ask you. Did you have the publicist's contact information? Their cellphones? Were you able to text them, "Hey, what's going on?" Or were you just totally abandoned?


    [0:11:42] IK: Yeah, I had their email. I emailed the email address that sent me the invite, and then I didn't get a response from them. But then the next week, they invited me to something else and I was like, "This just seems – I don't understand what's going on. But I am not going to anything this person invites me to." And that's just a professionalism thing. I don't think it has anything particularly to do with PR. But it was just one of those things where like people not making sure that people are being taken care of.


    [0:12:12] BB: Yeah. Well, even more so, when it's you who invited me and you – in this situation, just curious further, because I think there's learnings in here. There was no, "Hey, how did it go, Ian, last night?" Or there wasn't any follow-up. You just suddenly got the next invite. It's like, "Oh, no."


    [0:12:30] IK: Yeah, exactly. That's just like a carelessness thing. Yeah. Probably wasn't keeping track. 

    Authenticity, humanity, patience


    PR consultant Daniela Garrido reminded us that just being yourself will go a long way toward building a real relationship. 


    top learnings instagram


    Included in that is also being authentic with your storytelling. Racheal A. W. reminds us that the media needs authentic, real stories to write memorable pieces of content. 


    top learnings 2023 linkedin


    Finally, Darina Rovinskaia’s advice on patience hits home for any PR pro (or anyone else, really.) Great stories take time. 




    Wishing great stories for our media, PR, and publicist partners in 2024!




    Want to explore opportunities to expand your outreach efforts? Check out how OnePitch can help you identify and track the right list of journalists to pitch simply by uploading your initial pitch or press release.


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