When you’re working in public relations, you know that it is not all about creating and distributing content. This is true because even you have written a great story, it is useless if you don’t do your homework.
When writing your release, do your best that it gets the best chance of landing publicity. It’s important that you pay attention not only on the content, but how you develop your relationships with the media prior and after reaching out to them.
Let’s go through what media relations is for a clearer understanding of how it can help your press release campaign.
What Is Media Relations?
Media relations pertain to a company’s relationship with journalists, reporters and editors. The media covers everything from the radio, television, internet, newspapers and magazines.
The company works with an individual or a firm that can distribute its newsworthy message to relevant media and publications. A media relations professional works with the media. They are in-charge of developing a media plan on the local and international level.
Both the media and public relations professionals must be expert in mass communications. They know the trending topics and know what kind of story clicks, you can read more here.
Prior to Pitching:
Before writing anything, you need to carefully think of the angle of your story. More or less, the angle that you want to cover has been written already before, so you want to make sure that you include a new perspective to it when pitching.
You need to do extra work on researching what likely is the storyline that interests your target media. It must be interesting and relevant for them.
Target journalists who haven’t written the topic, or choose a topic that is not yet addressed by any other news site. As much as possible read the news that the media have covered. Personalize your pitch from the data you have gathered.
Don’t just cover the story. Make sure that it is compelling enough to be picked up. Include strong data, trends and perspectives.
Tips To Follow To Improve Media Relations Before Pitching:
In case the reporter picked up your news, they may come back to you asking for other brand assets, such as company background, images, video, interviews and information. As a PR person, you need to anticipate these needs beforehand. Prepare everything, so it will be easy for the media to write your story.
Check out the list of things you need to prepare before you pitch the press:
- Availability of the spokesperson. If you need to interview a company spokesperson immediately, are you able to set a time to do it? Make sure that you can reach out and book an interview with them before the story comes out.
- Multimedia. Ready relevant and interesting images or video that your target reporter may be needing for the story.
- Experts. Can you provide experts who can give their own insights of the story? If you can do this, you can cut save a great time of reporters, looking for third-party experts.
- Press materials. Have a set of ready press materials that your target media can use. Prepare them in advance to avoid delaying their work.
- Future campaigns. Make sure that you’re ready to answer any questions about your upcoming plans and news stories. If you don’t have plans, you can get caught up in a mess.
- Question and answer guide. Prepare a list of question and answer to be ready anytime the media asked you something.
- Identify your target media. Identify the media who are most likely to write your story. There are varied ways to find them. If you are interested in writing about agricultural products, check writers who write the same topic in magazines, newspapers and sites. You should find out if the reports, media publication or influencer can help you reach your target audience.
- Monitor media contacts and publications. Check if the stories they write fits your goals. Update your media list each time there is a new information about them, or in the story they write.
Tips To Follow To Improve Media Relations During Pitching:
In order to improve the chances that the reporter will entertain your story, you need to follow these tips when pitching:
- Make a quick introduction about yourself and your company. Let your target media know what kind of story you’re pitching and in the future. State how you can help their beat, and what materials are available at your end.
- Ask them if there is anything they want from your story. Ask them also if they are interested to discuss anything about it. If they are open for discussion, you don’t need to pitch something that you’re not sure of. If they are giving answers, use it to enhance your story.
- Express your purpose. Telling them that your intention is to share relevant and remarkable information can make them feel that you are serious about your story. When you tell them your intention, you assure them that you are a better PR person than others.
- Make social connections. Connect with the media on social media channels. Don’t waste the opportunity to connect with them since majority of them is on social media.
- Make it personal. Don’t forget that media relations is all about relationship. Build connection on the personal level. Meet them once in a while. Ask them how they are, or wish them a “Happy birthday.” Interacting with them more than the job can build a stronger and lasting relationship.
- Know what is critical. You should know what information you need to really include in your pitch. Some information can be save and share later.
Best Practices in Media Relations
PR professional’s role is to work with the media on a constant basis. However, don’t forget that reporters and editors don’t need to work with them.
In order for you to develop a strong relationship with them, ensure that it is not a one-way relationship. Be kind, helpful and genuine.
- Offer exclusives. If you can offer exclusive story, do it. Most journalists are impressed when they receive exclusive stories to cover. It gives them a great feeling when they are the one to break the news.
- Honor their deadlines. Respect the deadline of reporters. If you can give them their needs in advance, the better. Don’t forget that time is so precious for them. The easier it is for them to work on your story, the better will be your reputation.
- Help them out. If your story is not what they need right now, ask how you can help. Perhaps, they need multimedia assets that you can send, or find in their internet. Pitch stories that can help them in writing the story they are working on.
- Spread your coverage. It is a common practice in PR to amplify the news once you received a coverage. Show the media that you are pleased with their coverage by distributing it through newsletters, newsroom and social media channels. Return the favor by giving the media a thank you letter. Keep in mind that the media is monitoring the metrics of your news. If they are happy that readers love it, you’ll have better media opportunities in the future.
- Treat them as an expert. Journalists are experts in their own beat. If you are launching an e-book or discussing a topic relevant to them, why not invite them to speak to provide their own insights? This will develop a stronger ties between the two of you.
- Meet them face-to-face. Once in a while, spend time with them. Meet them for a coffee or dine in a restaurant near their workplace. Don’t be too pushy about your story. Instead, just talk about anything under the sun, so that they will feel comfortable with you.
- Read and support your target reporter. Let the reporters know that you’re interested with in their stories and beat. Once you are within their range, they can use you as a source in their stories.
- Follow up and stay in contact. Whether you received publicity or not, stay in touched with the media. Pitch them story ideas from time to time. If you spotted that they need information, volunteer to help them. Doing the extra mile can change the result of your campaign.
These days that the competition for publicity is high, each company need to prove how good they are in writing and distributing stories relevant to the press and audience. However, it’s not the only thing that matters.
They should know how to enhance their relationship with the press. With good relations, they can avoid expensive marketing campaigns, and increase the chance to land publicity.
When there is good relations, it is easier for the brand to pitch stories. Observe professionalism when dealing with the press. At the same time, don’t forget that they are also humans.
Add a bit of personal touch to earn a long-lasting bond with them. Once they become familiar with you, they will always consider your story for future coverage.
Again, once you earned their trust, maintain a good relationship with them. You can do this by keeping up with their deadlines and requests. Help them whenever they need something in the story they write.