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Media relations can get a boost from face-to-face

It’s safe to say many of the media’s most influential editors and reporters are based in major markets like New York, Los Angeles or Chicago. And, while brands can be successful communicating with these reporters via phone and email, there is nothing quite like a face-to-face meeting between a brand representative and a reporter to foster a fruitful relationship.

Brands can take several approaches to these meetings:

  • Deskside Tours – a brand representative travels to the offices of several media outlets over the course of a day. Reporters often find these convenient because they don’t need to leave their offices and may even feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts about what your brand is presenting. But remember, deskside tours can be time consuming for the brand representative who has to get from place to place.
  • Editor Events – editors gather in one location to hear an announcement from a brand. This format allows your brand representatives to speak to a variety of people in one location, but limits the amount of one-on-one interaction. It’s valuable if there are a lot of products to share (that don’t travel well) or if there is a spokesperson who has limited availability.
  • Lunch Meetings. Of course, there are always good old fashion lunch meetings, coffee and drinks. This is encouraged when brands want to foster a deep relationship with a reporter – maybe they are offering him or her an exclusive – or if the reporter is a new contact and the brand would like to build a more personal rapport.

When planning for these meetings, here are a few things to think about:

  • What type of media are you trying to reach? If it’s high-level business media, a CEO or senior level executive should be a part of the meetings. If it’s a lifestyle editor, an industry expert could be valuable.
  • Is the reporter in high demand? If so, you may need to get creative with your meetings or events. If you are launching a nail polish, try offering her a manicure at the editor event, or if it’s a fashion product, consider planning a fashion show.
  • What do you need to be prepared? For face-to-face meetings, it’s important to have any available press materials, key messages points, background information on the reporter and his or her recent stories. It is also helpful to develop sample Q&A, anticipating any tough questions the reporter may have. If your spokesperson is new to media interviews, he or she may require media training.

While a lot of planning often goes into face-to-face meetings, brands often experience positive results and find, in the long run, they’re well worth the effort. I know I have!

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