Mashable's "HOW TO: Get Journalists to Tell Your Story" Forgets One MAJOR Step

Investigative journalismI worked as a reporter for the Boston Globe for about five years. I covered a variety of subjects, dealt with a ton of PR people and have a keen sense of what is news and what isn't. Add in my 15 years in PR and, needless to say, the journalism business is a business that I know in and out.

So while I'm buzzing through my RSS reader, I came across Mashable's story about "HOW TO: Get Journalists to Tell Your Story" and immediately thought to myself, holy crap, they are missing one critical element to media relations:

It's about the relationships, stupid.

Yes, you need to be fast, be on target, be honest, be personal and be precise, but one thing you absolutely need to do is be a friend.

Now, when I friend, I don't mean a friend in the true sense. What I mean is that you need to have a relationship with the reporter. These days, journalists are time starved. They have to write for their publications, blog, do video posts, etc. The 9-5, three edition journalist, doesn't exist any more. It's a 24-hour news cycle and because of social media, news breaks at any time, anywhere and is reported within minutes via Twitter, Facebook, et al.

This leads me to my point. Because journalists are fairly active on social media, there are plenty of opportunities for PR types to build relationships with journalists. A scribe needs to trust you. They need to know you are a valuable resource and that what you're pitching them isn't crap. And in fact, it'll be news. It'll be relevant. It'll be timely. It'll be unlike anything anyone else has covered. Those factors will help you build a relationships with a reporter, which, in essence, will make the five other items Mashable's opinion piece mentioned, be secondary tips.