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It is no question that the media is an important force of influence, persuasion, and reputation for individuals and businesses. The media has considerable power over our ideas and opinions, so it is nothing short of vital to master media relationships professionally and purposefully for your brand. With years of experience speaking to media of all kinds, we have outlined our top tips to perfect your media relations and build long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships that will support your business.
You may also like to listen to these episodes of the ‘Revitalise & Grow’ podcast:
Season 4, episode 3 – How to create a press list that gets results
Season 6, episode 1 – Why can’t my PR agency guarantee me media coverage?
Media relations should be an integral part of any marketing activity your business undertakes. It is key to understand the media landscape and the importance of nurturing personal relationships with relevant media and influencers in your sphere. After all, creating great content is one thing, but knowing where to place it and how to get it seen is quite another! Once you have built media connections, doors will open to your brand in terms of print, broadcast, online and social media.
Developing media contacts
The media are more like us than you may think! They have incredibly demanding jobs, which you will need to be sensitive of when approaching them. The media’s role is to inform, be that a campaign, piece of news, feature, interview, comment, image, video … the list goes on! Start by having a simple conversation, rather than trying to push stories and content straight away. When building these foundations, it is good practice to talk about how you can help provide content for what the journalist is currently writing, what topics they are working on, what angles are of interest to them, and generally how you can benefit from one another! Often the main things a business can offer a journalist is access, statistics and opinion.
Pitching stories to the media
Look at what the journalist has written recently. Can you link your story idea to something they have been covering? If so, you have a perfect opening line. You should always give a reason as to why you are contacting that specific journalist with that story. Make it relevant for them.
It is always good practice to know what the journalist has recently been writing about (or broadcasting or blogging). It shows that you are interested in them and that you have done your research.
It is also a good idea to assume that the person you are pitching to is very busy, pressured, and short of time. Make sure you know your story or idea inside-out. If the journalist is unlikely to know your brand already, then have your ‘fast facts’ to hand so you can introduce the company and answer questions there and then. Providing information succinctly and professionally will help to build your relationship with the media.
Writing for publication
Before you pitch, research who the best person is to receive your story. Find the role that is best suited to your business, piece of news, or industry, and read up on their recent work. This may sound like an obvious point but get to know the publication thoroughly! This way you will have an idea of the media’s audience, and what they desire from a story. This is key when building any relationships with the media, as you should be striving to place purposeful content appropriate to the publication and its readers.
Responding to media enquiries
Being responsive to the media is crucial to keep and build strong relationships. The media might be looking for news, sources, contacts, exclusive comments, or facts and figures, and if they are coming to you first, be on hand to answer immediately! Prioritising responding to media enquiries in a timely fashion will show the journalist you are attentive and will increase the chances of them returning to you when they need something for another piece!
Listen to our podcast, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, where we discuss some of our favourite, as well as some downright awful, examples of PR campaigns!
As you can see, building and maintaining media relations takes dedication and time. If you want to up your media relations game but don’t have the time to give it the dedication it needs, let us help. Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org