Building Bridges

2nd April 2019

I’ve been working in media relations for twenty years, but recently had a welcome reminder of what really builds relationships with reporters. During a routine check through my emails, I spotted an unusual request from a BBC Radio 4 journalist who was seeking an expert commentator on the Japan/EU Economic Partnership for Business Matters.

Two years ago, I took on a small project for Masako Eguchi-Bacon, the Japanese businesswomen who founded Oceanbridge Management in her quest to forge business links between British and Japanese technology companies. Masako is intelligent, engaging and a fluent English speaker, so I was confident that she would come across extremely well on radio.

Although she isn’t a client, I knew that Masako would be perfect for this programme and so I put together a short pitch explaining her background and business and emailed the BBC journalist a quote that Masako had provided for an earlier feature on international marketing.

Networking Photo

Within half an hour the BBC journalist called my mobile to ask if Masako could come into the studio the following day. I explained that she wasn’t a client, but I would check her availability and call him straight back.

After I’d confirmed that Masako was available for the radio interview, the journalist gave me a little more background on the programme and, as we were closing the call he asked the question that every PR consultant wants to hear: “I know you said Masako isn’t your client, so who do you represent?”

Rather than reeling off a list, knowing that he’s currently covering the repercussions of Brexit, I told him about a manufacturing client who has strong opinions on the referendum and international trade, based on 30 years’ experience exporting to America, Western Europe and Asia. The journalist asked me to send some background information and told me that, based on what I’d told him, there might be a couple of interview opportunities for both TV and radio.

A couple of hours after introducing Masako, the journalist emailed back, copying in two other colleagues at the BBC who were interested in speaking to her.

The moral of the story? If you spot an opportunity to put a journalist in touch with exactly the right person, grab it, even if that spokesperson is not your client. If you help a journalist to bring the right expertise to their listeners and readers they will be far more receptive to hearing about your other clients in future. What goes around, really does come around.

You can listen to Masako discussing the Japan/EU Economic Partnership here: