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How to make the most out of journalist meetings


Victoria Usher

Published On:

July 25, 2019

Published In:

Business | PR & Communications

How to make the most out of journalist meetings

It can be hard to find time in your schedule to meet with a journalist over a coffee (or a cocktail), but face-to-face meetings are essential if you want to develop a solid relationship and strong foundation with the media.

Why is it useful to meet regularly with journalists? 

Face-time with reporters and journalists who cover your sector goes a long way in today’s digital age. It may not guarantee coverage – although it’s certainly a possibility – but it is a great way to build relationships, and put your name and company on a select list of trusted sources.

Generally speaking, the press benefits from talking to industry experts. With tight deadlines and turnaround times, they need information that is readily available and briefings are an effective way to get it. Meeting journalists will prove invaluable for your business if you make sure you are prepared.

What makes a good journalist briefing meeting?

This all depends on the outcome you’re looking for from the briefing. Is it to secure coverage with the publication? Develop a relationship with the journalist? Find out what they’re working on and how you can help them? It is always imperative to go into a media briefing with a clear objective.

For example, we recently secured a meeting for our client with a journalist from a national publication. The objective was clear – to find out whether the client would be a good fit for the journalist’s existing CEO profile slot. We had researched the feature beforehand and the client attended the meeting prepared with an angle in mind to discuss. The result? The journalist profiled the company a few days later.

How can marketers prepare their senior spokesperson?

The real secret to getting the most out of a journalist briefing is preparation and practice. Consider professional media training for your key spokespeople. This will teach them to hone their key messages, answer tricky questions, and practice speaking effectively.

Ensure your senior spokesperson is informed and prepared for journalist meetings by providing a briefing document. It should highlight the most important information about the journalist and publication, as well as provide recommendations for speaking points. There is a reason it is called a ‘brief’ing document. It should be a concise and clear document that your senior spokesperson can easily digest. The PR agency that has scheduled the meeting typically provides this.

Above all else, a meeting or call with a journalist is a conversation and you are both there to help each other. You don’t need to present a PowerPoint document or launch into why your product is the best they have ever seen. Instead, use this valuable time to establish a genuine rapport, as this will help to build long-term media relationships for the future and position your company as a trusted, knowledgeable source for future press opportunities.


By Kerry Ritchie, Account Manager  

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