Open the door with kudos or comments about past coverage—nobody likes a cold pitch. "Being friendly is a big part of building relationships with us," Saillant says. "Not every call or email has to be a pitch. For example, just let us know that you’ve read a story recently. If I did a piece (which I did) on mobile home park conversion, then a good call would include your referencing the piece and saying, for example, that you represent an expert on law around that issue. If it’s a continuing story—which stories about legislations usually are—then I might be able to come back to an expert later."
One of the things a flack can do with a blog is link to the reporters who cover their practice area. There is no reporter in the world who has so many readers they would enjoy getting a few more, and reporters who work for less known trade journals really appreciate a link. Blogging gives flacks a chance to recognize good reporting in their practice area. It is a time efficient way to build a relationship with a reporter and much more meaningful for them then the PR knick knacks we mail to them.