In the fast-paced world of public relations (PR), it's easy to become fixated on short-term wins and one-off campaigns. However, savvy entrepreneurs understand the immense value of building long-term relationships that extend beyond individual projects. In this article, we explore the strategies and benefits of investing time and effort in nurturing relationships with key stakeholders, including journalists, industry influencers, and clients.
We asked our PR & Growth experts: What are good strategies for building relationships with stakeholders and journalists? Why is it beneficial to continually invest time and effort in building relationships with your network?
PR expert Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO at Mavens & Moguls, says: "The goal in business is to make mutually beneficial connections and build long-lasting relationships with the right stakeholders, media and also customers/clients who will provide the greatest returns, versus those with a high cost to serve who leave for a better deal/lower price.
Whether you are B2B or B2C every business is P2P and connecting on a personal level is what matters most. Successful businesses understand their product or service is about more than the transaction, they are in the relationship business. People buy brands they know, like and trust.
With journalists it always pays off in my experience to provide content, context and information on background and offer to make introductions if you can be helpful because you build a reputation as reliable source and go to contact so that when they are doing a piece in your industry you are top of mind and first on the list of people they call for quotes. It is a win-win making their job easier and setting you up as a thought leader in your area of expertise who is well-connected and knows everyone which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Having long-term relationships allows you to make more money over time as you deepen the bonds and get to know each other better so there are more opportunities to collaborate and grow."
Trenice Brinkley, Chief Communications Officer and Publicist at Two Queens Media, points out: "Building long-lasting relationships with stakeholders and journalists can have a significant impact on the success of your business. These are the people who can help promote your brand, provide valuable insights, and ultimately, help you achieve your business goals. By establishing a genuine connection with them and understanding their needs and interests, you can create a network of trusted contacts who are willing to work with you in the long term.
When you show an interest in getting to know your stakeholders and journalists, listen to their feedback, respond to their questions, and share relevant news or content with them, you are building a rapport that can lead to a mutually beneficial relationship.
Consistency in communication and follow-up is also key to maintaining these relationships. The goal is to build these relationships so that they can help you establish a strong brand presence, generate positive media coverage, and even open up new business opportunities. So, it's essential to focus on nurturing these relationships beyond just one-off campaigns or projects, as they can pay off in the long run. Whether its B2B or B2C business, it's all about P2P, or person-to-person connections that matter the most. By building lasting relationships with stakeholders and journalists, you are creating a network of people who can help you succeed and grow your business over time."
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Julia Voloshchenko, PR Manager at Usetech, emphasizes individual outreach as the core: "Personalization is one of the important points when communicating with journalists. No general newsletters! Only a personalized letter, with a specific message and a specific topic. Remember that journalists have many other tasks, so be useful to them: offer relevant material, provide them with statistics, facts and impressive figures. Be sure to thank the journalist after the publication and keep in touch. Let him or her know that you are willing to help him or her in future publications."
To get started, explore the effective strategies that you can adopt to enhance your thought leadership and leverage PR to your advantage.
1. Establish Trust and Credibility: Building long-term relationships allows entrepreneurs to establish trust and credibility with their stakeholders. When stakeholders know you, understand your values, and have seen your consistent performance, they are more likely to engage with your brand, share your messages, and support your initiatives. Trust is the foundation upon which successful PR campaigns and collaborations are built.
2. Cultivate Media Relations: Journalists play a crucial role in amplifying your brand's message to a wider audience. By investing in relationships with journalists, entrepreneurs can create a mutually beneficial partnership. Provide journalists with accurate, reliable, and relevant information that adds value to their stories. Be responsive, respectful of deadlines, and offer exclusive opportunities or access. These efforts will help position you as a trusted source and increase the likelihood of media coverage over time.
3. Engage with Industry Influencers: Industry influencers hold significant sway over consumer perception and purchasing decisions. Building relationships with these influencers can help entrepreneurs gain access to their networks and tap into their expertise. Engage with influencers through social media, attend industry events, and collaborate on content creation. By nurturing these relationships, you can benefit from their endorsement, reach a broader audience, and establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry.
4. Foster Client Relationships: Clients are the lifeblood of any business, and investing in long-term relationships with them is essential. By going beyond transactional interactions and truly understanding their needs, you can deliver more personalized and effective PR strategies. Regular communication, providing value-added insights, and delivering exceptional results are all key to building trust and loyalty. Satisfied clients become brand ambassadors, referring your services to others and generating positive word-of-mouth.
5. Harness the Power of Advocacy: Investing time and effort in building relationships with stakeholders leads to the development of advocates for your brand. Advocates are individuals who genuinely believe in your vision and are willing to vouch for your credibility and expertise. These advocates may be journalists, influencers, clients, or even employees. Their support can drive positive brand sentiment, generate referrals, and attract new opportunities, ultimately strengthening your PR efforts.
While short-term wins are important, entrepreneurs must recognize the immense benefits of cultivating long-term relationships in public relations. By establishing trust, credibility, and rapport with stakeholders, including journalists, industry influencers, and clients, you lay the foundation for success in the PR landscape. Building these relationships requires time, effort, and a genuine commitment to adding value. In return, you gain advocates who amplify your brand's message, open doors to new opportunities, and help your business thrive in the long run.
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