7 Dating Tips That Will Help You Land Press
Public relations is about building relationships. Every business knows the importance of the bottom line, but it’s too easy to fall into the trap of focusing only in fortune and fame. They forget the most important part — connecting with real people.
At the end of the day, P.R. isn’t a mask you can hide behind. Instead, it amplifies what you already are. It can only illuminate what you’re all about. When you strip away everything you see on the surface, you realize the way to get press isn’t rocket science.
Here are seven things to remember when you get your date with the press.
1. “But enough about me, what do you think about me?”
This line sums up what’s wrong with most dates and most pitches. Nobody wants to go out to dinner with someone who’s clearly only in love with themselves. They’re not going to think you’re awesome or amazing. Instead, they’re going to think you’re full of hot air.
Even if you’ve invented the greatest product in history, you need to give journalists a reason to care. First, you need to realize it’s not about you.
Journalists don’t care who you are unless you serve their audience. Here’s a concrete example. Let’s say the column’s niche is technology, and they like to feature new gadgets. Those journalists are probably never going to be writing about Beyonce or Kim Kardashian — unless it has something to do with science. Why? Because that’s not what their audience needs from them. Likewise, a celebrity magazine isn’t likely to feature a marine biologist no matter how brilliant they may be.
If you want to start a conversation, listen to what they have to say first. Get to know them. What do they like? What do they write about? Then see if you’re a great fit for them.
2. “Sorry, can you cover for me?”
Imagine asking someone out to dinner, ordering a lot of food, and then expecting the other person to foot the bill. Yeah, that’s not happening. The rule of thumb is unless the other person has offered to treat you, you either pay the bill or agree to go dutch. Even if they do offer, don’t act like you expect them to pay. Otherwise, you’re going to be a terrible host to your guest.
Yet many people ask journalists for a favor without offering anything of value. They expect free press to be handed to them on a silver platter.
Before you send that pitch, ask yourself “What’s in it for them?”
Once you already know what they like, see what you can offer. This means a story that’s informative, inspiring and entertaining.
3. Be open and vulnerable, but don’t overshare.
Everybody wants to know you’re authentic. This doesn’t mean spilling everything in your life. Nobody needs to know every single detail of your life. If you’re not careful, oversharing can do more harm than good.
After all, you never know who’s going to end up hearing about it. When it comes to the press, there’s really no such thing as “off the record.” Even if you think it’s just a one on one encounter, you never know who they’re connected to. Word can spread pretty fast.
4. Don’t get drunk with words.
This means no word vomit. Everything you say may seem interesting and exciting to you, but you can’t spend endless hours talking about it. Reaching out to journalists is like speed dating. They’re simply overloaded with emails, phone calls and interviews. They don’t have much time.
When you reach them, be straight to the point. Just as nobody wants a clumsy conversation on their date, journalists don’t want to read a whole lot of fluff.
5. Be the best version of yourself.
You don’t need to pretend you’re someone else, but that’s no excuse not to shower either. Public relations is about how the world perceives you and your brand. Like it or not, people instinctively make snap judgements. While you can’t expect to please everybody, you also can’t expect people not to care.
Nobody is trying to make you the next runway model — unless that’s what you actually do for a living. But taking the time to look and feel your best is a reflection on your own self-worth. Subtle things like your posture and your confidence can make or break people’s impressions on you.
6. Remember to call.
Life happens. You may have the most magical and wonderful conversation, but that’s all going to be in the back-burner if you don’t follow-up. Always remember to reach out consistently. No, you don’t need to flood their inbox or leave a dozen voicemails. Once you make the connection, remember to keep the spark alive.
Journalists are constantly wooed with pitches and press releases. There are ideas hiding in every corner, and if you don’t make an effort to reach them, they’re not likely to remember you.
7. Deal with rejection gracefully.
Most people know about the “friendzone,” but have you heard about the “maybe later” zone?
On one hand, it means they’re interested, but maybe it’s not compelling enough to write about right now. Maybe it’s a pitch better suited for some other season. But it can also be a subtle way of flat out saying no.
You may do a lot of hard work and still get rejected for various reasons. It can really sting.
But please resist the urge to whine, moan or badger the journalist about it. At best, they’re simply going to hit delete. Worst case scenario, they’re going to block your contact and then spread the word to other journalists.
If you feel like a pitch didn’t work out, simply learn from it and move on. Trust me. There really are plenty of fish in the journalism sea.