Securing Media Hits That Boost Your Brand

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July 5, 2022

By Carey Jester

I can’t tell you how many times my friends and family have asked me “What do you do in public relations?” I don’t blame them. The world of PR is vast and ever-changing.

One of my favorite parts of my job, and maybe one of the easier things to explain in PR, is media relations. I often tell people that I’m the middleman between my clients and the media.

Media relations isn’t simply sending information about your client to a reporter resulting in a glowing review. PR professionals are responsible for crafting campaigns, identifying key audiences, and planning when and how to reach them to result in media placements.

A good media relations strategy has the potential to boost brand awareness, help drive sales, position your client as an industry expert and build credibility. But PR professionals have to understand how build beneficial relationships with media instead of seeing coverage as the final goal.

Understand Your Audience

In media relations, there are two audiences: the media and the people your client is trying to reach. Taking the time to identify and understand them is crucial for a successful media relations campaign.

Cision’s 2022 State of the Media Report shows us that 43% of reporters cover five or more beats. Journalists are facing staffing and resource challenges and some journalists file up to 10 stories in a week. Media members already get hundreds of emails a day so it’s more important than ever for pitches to be personalized, concise and offer a resource for the reporter to tell them visualize the story.

The saying “When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one,” could not be truer in media relations. Sending an announcement to every outlet in your target market will not only annoy journalists, but will also fail to garner results. Carefully crafting a pitch for specific reporters that cater to your audience is best.

Understanding your audience’s demographics will help you uncover how they’re consuming news (print, digital, broadcast, social media) and will help identify which outlets to pitch (local newspaper, national morning show, trade publications).

Craft Timely + Newsworthy Messaging

While an organization’s announcement or recent development may be newsworthy to the client, it may not carry the same weight with the media. This is where staying on top of news and industry trends becomes so important because you can leverage emerging trends, recent reports and even breaking news to supplement your message.

Timing is everything in our world a never-ending news cycle and instant updates on social media, so newsjacking can be a useful tactic. The formula for newsjacking involves moving quickly to respond to or piggyback on breaking news to get your messaging into the news cycle. You’ve probably seen this phenomenon countless times when industry experts are interviewed to comment on breaking news or when an influencer tweets about a topic and a company responds offering their thoughts (or free products).

Build Credibility

Third party credibility carries more weight than a paid ad, which is essentially what media relations boils down to. Of course, advertising has its place under the communications umbrella, but it can’t build the same kind of trust and validation between a company and its consumers than third party credibility.

Every mention of your client in an article or soundbite from their spokesperson in a broadcast segment will help to build their credibility. Media placements can be leveraged in outreach to help demonstrate your client’s expertise and show journalists that they have something to offer as well.

It’s important to celebrate these wins by sharing recent coverage on social media and making sure they’re added to the client’s website.

Media relations is just one of many tools we use in reputation management and may not always be the focus. However, it’s crucial to work on building relationships with media in all seasons; not just when you need them. Having regular communication cadence with a handful of key reporters can take you far. A solid communications strategy, understanding of target audiences and clear messaging will help take your media relations to the next level.

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