Our advice for building successful relationships with journalists

We recently provided guidance on how you should talk to journalists and ensure any interview is a success. However, before you actually speak to a journalist, you need to catch their attention. This isn’t as easy as it sounds for cleantech companies, who face the challenge of explaining often complex technology in a crowded news landscape.

To make sure their voices are heard and time isn’t wasted, cleantech companies must ensure that they effectively pitch to journalists. Moreover, it’s crucial they also take advantage of any interest shown by a journalist and not let the relationship fizzle out. Forming positive relationships with journalists is essential to receiving news coverage and increasing your company recognition long-term.

We asked our PR team for their advice on initially pitching to journalists and nurturing relationships with them.

How to pitch to journalists

Jan, Strategic Director

“Ideally, you should get to know them beforehand, so do your research on what they’re interested in and have recently been writing about. Make sure to offer journalists real, valuable insights, rather than just sending them something for the sake of it in the hope of receiving coverage. Keep your email short, concise and to the point, plus make sure the subject line is interesting so it will stand out in their inbox.”

Lee, PR Manager

“Journalists receive countless calls and emails every single day, which is why your pitch needs to be exciting if it’s going to grab their attention. Make sure to have impressive facts and figures handy that you can mention and give your story added context. Can you relate CO2 emission savings to something tangible, such as a country’s annual output? If so, then do it! Also, don’t be offended if you don’t receive a reply to your first pitch. A lot of the time you’ll need to follow-up with a journalist regarding a pitch, if this is the case then remain friendly rather than frustrated.”

Lucia, PR Manager

“Call and email a journalist only when you know that they cover your topics. While being friendly, make sure to succinctly explain your story and ask if that’s helpful for them right now. Try to pitch your story as you would to a friend that has shown interest in your work – it’s not a sales or investor pitch. Finally, remember to ask what the best way of staying in touch with them is.”

Manon, PR & Content Executive

“Research, research, research. Before you write an email, spend time reading what they’ve written recently. Then ask yourself – have they already covered the angle you’re going to pitch? If not, are they actually the best person to pitch to from that publication? Also spend time on their social media channels, as these may indicate if they’re currently looking for pitching angles and how they prefer to be contacted. If they are happy to receive calls, pick up the phone and be friendly and polite, yet succinct and factual. Show that you know what you’re talking about and be clear that you’re contacting them because you have something that will be of relevance to them.”

How to nurture relationships with journalists

Jan, Strategic Director

“Make sure to check-in with your journalist contacts regularly. Even if you don’t have anything from your company to inform them of, you could still send them information and insights from your industry that they may not be aware of and would appreciate knowing. Also, if you’re both attending the same industry event (when these can happen again of course!) then make sure to catch up with them in-person so they can put a face to your name.”

Lee, PR Manager

“Respect boundaries, but also make sure they don’t forget you. Ideally, you want journalists to remember that you and your company are experts in a particular field and that you’re the go-to person to speak to for stories relating to your industry. That’s why it’s important to remain active with them and check-in often. Just make sure that when you’re checking-in, you have something valuable to share with them – whether that’s related to your company or the wider topics that they cover.”

Lucia, PR Manager
“Be friendly, interested and interesting. It’s a professional relationship based on mutual interests and shared goals. Journalists should be on your side, so if they’re not playing for your team, choose someone else to focus your attention on. Or you could attempt to gently win them over with a poignant discussion.”

Manon, PR & Content Executive

“Remember that you’re here to help, so frequently catch up with your journalist contacts to keep up-to-date with what they’re writing about, areas they’re interested in and topics their editor wants them to cover. In the current climate, face-to-face meetings are difficult to arrange, so offer to have a coffee (or something stronger!) with them over Zoom to check-in. Even when you’re not in direct contact with a journalist, follow what they’re publishing on their social media channels and engage with it. Crucially, however, you should know when not to contact them if they’re going to be too busy, such as when magazines have to go to print, or if they’re hosting an industry event.”

We hope you found these insights from our PR team useful! If you need further assistance with your PR activities, our team would be happy to chat about how we could help. Get in touch with us here to request a free PR consultation call.

Book a consultation

Tell us who you are, what your company does and what challenges you face.

We'll get in touch as soon as we can to discuss how we can help.

Register for our boot camp

You've invented a game-changing technology.

Let's make it shine.