Promoting the PR-journo relationship – tips from a journalist

Establishing longstanding relationships with the varying branches of the media industry are a necessity that everyone is familiar – and at times – frustrated with. Fida Chaaban, Editor-in-Chief, Entrepreneur Middle East offers tips on how PR’s can be successful with this in the journalist arena…

I know that clients badger you relentlessly, and that you’re treading a minefield of harried journos, but investing time in long-term relationships with likeminded members of the press really is mutually beneficial

We know, that you know, that we know, that #UAEPR people get the short end of the stick. You’re navigating a minefield of unpredictable journos, over caffeinated-clients, and a boss who is asking for deliverables… like blanket coverage that your retainer clients often demand. As one of those aforementioned “unpredictable” journos who receives between 200 to 400 emails on a daily basis (the majority of which are press releases), here are a few things that will get me (and possibly other fickle journalists) to give your outreach efforts precedence:

1)  Do send me something that you aren’t sending everyone else. I can tell the difference between a pitch tailored for Entrepreneur ME, and a pitch that just replaced the names of the media outlet and editor. To properly tailor a pitch, you probably have to read the magazine and understand our “voice”. I know this is no mean feat, and that you can’t prioritise one outlet over another, but it may result in me collaborating with you on a really comprehensive feature with strong, solid coverage rather than just garnering your client a vague mention. If that’s worth it to you, then craft an angle that works for my publication. It will take you a lot more time and effort, so the cost/benefit analysis here is your call.

2) Don’t flood me with “reminders”. I know that you are tired of press not responding to your emails, pitches, and invitations. I can’t speak for all journalists of course, but I do read all of my emails, and it takes up a huge part of my day, every single day. I do flag interesting pitches (as discussed above) – it’s quite possible that I won’t get in touch for a month or even two, but if it’s a good angle I will eventually explore it in one way or another. I do mentally note which agencies and PR people are making an effort to establish a lasting relationship instead of mass spam one-offs. Sending me three follow-up emails two days after you’ve sent a press release suggests to me that you think I have no other work to do.  Please don’t flood me, I promise I’m paying attention (even if you don’t think I am).

3) Do communicate with me via social media. There are a few noteworthy UAE PR people who have interacted with Entrepreneur ME and our staff on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I’m a very detail-oriented person who notices when people make a genuine effort to share our material- especially when that material has nothing to do with their clients and pitches. I appreciate your efforts to join our online community and your efforts to facilitate my medium’s growth – it makes me feel that you value our work. It also indicates to me that you don’t just see our publication (that I work very hard to produce) as a mere vehicle to convey your client news. A good PR-Journo relationship starts with a good conversation, and social media is the best way to initiate a dialogue with me.

I know that clients badger you relentlessly, and that you’re treading a minefield of harried journos, but investing time in long-term relationships with likeminded members of the press really is mutually beneficial. PR people who I have worked with successfully in the past are the first people that I contacted when I launched Entrepreneur in Dubai. I made a sincere effort to find a way to support their clients, simply because these PR people have proven invaluable to me in the past in terms of good information, creative angles and fruitful introductions.

I hope that you haven’t received a snappish-sounding email from me, and if you have, the points I mentioned can help transition what was a bad start into a good mutually-rewarding collaboration. See you on the web!


Fida Chabban is Editor-in-Chief of Entrepreneur ME. Follow her on

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