Being of Service Matters More than Being Social for Media Relations


being of service

Have you ever wondered why some companies get so much media attention, while other, more established or credible companies don’t fare as well?

When it comes to media relations, relationships are a big part of the equation. PR or executives that can consistently deliver value and are of service will always be at the top of the list for interviews, quotes and other opportunities.

In a world where the pressure for reporters/bloggers to publish multiple times per day is immense, people who can help bloggers or reporters get what they need with no muss, no fuss, are worth their weight in gold.

Years ago when I was in college as a PR student, we were taught the principle of “give service” which means your job as the PR person is to deliver the goods. Even when it’s not necessarily easy or convenient for you, because service is what breeds trust and builds into a relationship over time.

So while we spend our time on social media actively sharing our message, we need to stop and ask, “how can we give service?” Your organization’s willingness and ability to give service matters more than being social. While you may be publishing your own story, you don’t want to overlook the power of having the media share your story.

Giving Service to Reporters and Bloggers Via Social Media

While social media and the Internet in general have been good news for PR as now we have easy access to reporter’s emails and blogger’s stories in a matter of a couple clicks, it also means they are inundated with people pitching and asking for things all day, every day.

Which is where giving service comes in. Being helpful will set you apart quickly and make you memorable. Instead of publishing yet another post on a social network, why not take the time to be of service on social media instead? You can get started with these ideas:

Step in to Offer Sources

Reporters routinely use Twitter and Facebook to seek sources for stories they are working on. Keep an eye out for these type of queries and be ready to connect them with contacts in your circles that can help. While what they need may not be in your company’s wheelhouse, you may have a contact who would be the perfect fit. Maybe you have an old boss who can, or an association you are a member of who has an expert on the topic.

Quickly reaching out to the reporter and offering to facilitate an introduction or make a suggestion can go a long way. You are helping them save time and energy so they can get the information they need that much quicker.

Provide Background Interviews/Materials Wherever Possible

Get to know what type of information or background your key reporters need. Maybe your TV station’s business reporter is always in need of statistics on market growth in your industry or even information to help them learn more about an emerging trend. Sharing resources with reporters in a no strings attached way is a good way to win them over. You can reach out to them via social media, respond to questions they post on social or send them a quick email to offer assistance.

Make a Personal Connection

Reporters, editors and bloggers are people too – and behind those social accounts, they have families, hobbies and interests. Invest time in getting to know a bit about them so when you do interact with them you have a genuine connection. Social media offers an informal way for you to bond over shared interests or crazy things your toddlers did last week. People do business with people they trust and like.

If you are going to be in their area, or they are local to you, see if you can grab a coffee with them to learn how you can best work with them. They often have people pitching them a meeting to talk about their latest and greatest widget, but connecting face-to-face to find out how you can help is truly being of service.

In Summary

The key to giving service is for you to give without the expectation of receiving. When connecting reporters with sources, offering background and being generally helpful, you need to be real and authentic. You need to be ready to give service with no expectation of a story, blog post or interview.

Being of service via social media will go long way, especially if you do it with good intentions. It will come back to your organization in time, as when your media contacts need an expert or comment from your company they will know they can rely on you to deliver.

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About the Author:

Maggie Patterson

This monthly Social Media and Media Relations column is contributed by Maggie Patterson. Maggie is a PR strategist, freelance writer and blogger. She has 15 years of hands-on experience in PR, working with some of the largest brands in the world to solopreneurs securing hundreds of speaking gigs, along with thousands of guest posts and media hits. Maggie currently offers PR and social media consulting and coaching with a focus on guest blog posting and leveraging social media to support more traditional PR strategies. +Maggie Patterson

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