If someone you never met before knocked on your door, chances are you wouldn’t let him in your house. Without having met the person before or knowing anything about him, how can you know this visitor is trustworthy?
This scenario is similar to a company embarking on a new public relations effort. Knocking on a reporter’s door and asking for admission (news coverage) will only work after first proving to the reporter that you’re trustworthy, reliable and worth getting to know.
Building trust doesn’t happen overnight. It requires a consistent effort of reaching out to the reporter with good information that meets his needs, such as customer stories, thought leadership and research. It also requires a good message and an executive trained to deliver the message well.
Of course, hiring a PR rep who has a relationship with the reporter can help, but even the most connected rep cannot get coverage without a good story.
When starting a PR effort for the first time, it’s wise to expect that the first couple months will be spent developing story ideas and building relationships with reporters. This investment of time will pay off as reporters come to rely on you for good, timely and reliable information.