effective media relations

How to do effective media relations

A media relations strategy should be a part of any strong public relations and marketing campaign. Media relations is all about creating and building relationships with journalists and media outlets. These relationships offer a mutual benefit between both media organisations and businesses who wish to leverage them.

Companies use media relations to generate media coverage that will have a positive impact on their brand. With so much misinformation and fake news online, credibility is more important than ever before. Thankfully, while media trust continues to erode, press releases are ranked as one of the most trustworthy types of content.

Public relations vs media relations

People tend to use media relations and public relations interchangeably, but this isn’t correct. Media relations is a part of PR, but public relations tends to target the general public. Media relations, on the other hand, targets media contacts. A strong media relations manager will have a specific strategy for targeting and building relationships with journalists.

Why you need effective media relations

Media relations is all about communicating with the media to gain support to talk about your company, values and mission. You can also use media relations to mitigate a crisis.

Building strong relationships with media outlets has a number of mutual benefits for both reporters and organisations. Content that’s ready to publish will save journalists time and money, and bring publicity for your business.

Not only can you expand your brand awareness campaigns, but you can increase the credibility of your brand too. Here are some of the other benefits of building and maintaining strong media relations:

Third-party validation

A strong media relations strategy can benefit both reporters and organisations who want to publicise their communications to the world. Whenever a trusted media outlet publishes stories about your business, it means that your story and your business have merit.

Third-party validation for any stories you produce increases your credibility and therefore builds trust with the public.

Building brand awareness

A strong media relations campaign will get your business published on a variety of channels. If your business appears on channels such radio or a popular website, for example, you can reach millions of people. This sort of brand awareness will provide you with an initial uplift, but also remain online for years to come.

Lead generation

The combination of awareness and credibility will create earned media opportunities that will drive lead generation. When earned media opportunities are broadcast to customers, it encourages story sharing and engagement. These are all tactics that can drive lead generation.

Developing a good media relations strategy

To create, build and maintain beneficial relationships with the media, a media relations manager must deliver an effective strategy. A strategy will help you make the most of your efforts to crack the news cycle. Here are some of the most effective ways to build your media relations strategy:

Undertaking research

Pitching to the right media contact is a crucial part of obtaining press coverage. You’ll need to know which news outlets would be best suited to the sort of story you’re producing.

For example, if you have a fitness product, you should target a health editor, rather than a politics editor.

This is why it’s important to undertake research before building your media relations strategy. Spending as much time as possible researching the correct reporter for your story will make your pitches more successful.

Compiling a media list

A big part of effective media relations is understanding the sort of content a journalist produces and publishes. A media list is also known as a press list. It’s effectively a contact list containing information about journalists who would be interested in covering your news story.

A media list usually contains the names and contact details of journalists, reporters, media influencers and even bloggers. These reporters would usually write about your area of expertise, niche or business industry.

Research contact information, beats, titles and any stories that a specific reporter may have published previously. This data will help to make sure you’re getting the right media support for your target audience. You’ll make the most of each pitch, and garner the right interest, every time.

Storytelling

Any good PR manager will tell you that storytelling is an integral part of any marketing strategy. It’s important to find newsworthy stories and events that are going to resonate with the journalists you’re pitching to.

Anything you have to say that’s fresh, different, exciting and of benefit to your brand will help you gain traction. If you’re writing a press release, remember to cover the five basic questions a press release must cover.

Media relevance

Your story needs to fit within a larger and more exciting media narrative. To build and maintain media relations, you should think in terms of media relevance, not just company relevance.

For example, you may have moved your office to a new location. This sort of story would be great on your news and events page on your website. But it wouldn’t necessarily be exciting for the media.

Making your pitch

The world of journalism is fast-paced and competitive. Press releases and newsworthy communications are sent to journalists at a staggering rate by those vying for attention.

Each journalist you write to should be offered a unique pitch that’s tailored to them. In fact, journalists say that lack of personalisation is the number one reason an otherwise relevant pitch is rejected.

Always begin with the journalist’s name and hook them with a great headline. With journalists getting more pitches than they can possibly read, it’s important to catch their attention from the beginning.

Continuing the relationship

Once a journalist decides to publish your story, make sure you thank them. Taking the time to build up a solid relationship with journalists will pay off very well in the long run. Maintain contact with a media agency on social media channels such as Twitter, and share their articles publicly.

Contact us to find out how we can create a powerful media strategy for your business.

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