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How To Build Relationships With Media When in-Person Meetings Are Cancelled

Announcing the Next BAM Book Jam with Arianna Davis

Despite the reopening of many facilities like restaurants and gyms that are part of our daily lives, data shows that offices are still sitting half empty.

For example, our agency is remote through the end of the year and we’ve been told many media publications are doing the same. On a personal level, people are still not comfortable meeting with others outside their bubble and even if they were, available space (open offices, coffee shops) to do so is limited.

For those of us that relied on in-person coffee dates or catch-ups over lunch with our journalist “friendlies” pre-COVID, what other options are there?

3 COVID-friendly ways to connect with journalists:

  • Get social. It’s likely you were already using Twitter to communicate with reporters. But if you weren't, now is the time to get active on social media. This doesn’t mean pitching them via an unsolicited direct message. We’re talking about engaging organically with their content. Did you enjoy their recent article? Share it. Found their tweet interesting?
  • Comment. Is there an active discussion? Join in. This will all help show that you actually value the content a journalist is producing and that you’re thinking of them beyond scoring a placement. Virtual dates. There’s no denying a Zoom meeting is not the same as in-person, but you have to make do with the hand you’re dealt. While some folks have Zoom fatigue, others are still open to cracking open a beer with you virtually for a 30-minute check-in. Remind yourself reporters are people too, so don’t get on a call and rattle off questions of pitches. Ask them how they’re doing during this difficult time and connect beyond your work.
  • Wellness checks. This should only happen if (and recommended only if) you have a pre-existing relationship with a reporter. Send them a quick email to check in on how they’re doing, let them know you’re thinking of them if they’re in a wildfire area or a hurricane hotspot. Even if they’re too busy to respond, the thought goes a long way.

If you’re looking for additional platforms to hear from reporters or use as connection touch points, BAM’s Ask Media Anything series is a great way to learn and connect with reporters that cover different beats. In our free 1-hour webinars, you get to ask top journalists your PR and pitching questions live. 

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