Media relations is a critical part of any public relations strategy, because it’s key to securing earned media, or in simpler terms, free publicity. It’s more of an art than a science, and there are best practices that can help you get the most out of your media outreach campaigns. Follow these top six tips to help secure the media coverage you deserve:
- Remember the news. While it’s important to tout your brand, being too promotional can cause journalists to pass on a story – and, worse, potentially ignore your future communications. Instead, focus on providing value by offering insights, data and expert opinions that matter to their target audiences. In so doing, you will build mutually beneficial relationships and establish yourself as a trusted source.
- Understand your audience. If you aren’t familiar with your target media outlets’ editorial formats and needs, it will be difficult to effectively sell your stories. Take the time to research your media list and tailor messaging accordingly, because understanding your audience is essential for successful media relations.
- Don’t ignore the media. When journalists reach out to you for a comment or interview, it’s important to respond in a timely manner. Reporters have deadlines and are increasingly tasked with doing more work in less time, so they tend to remember PR people who make their jobs easier and those who don’t. Ignoring the media can lead to negative coverage, being excluded from a story that could have positively impacted your business, damaged brand reputations and weakened media relationships.
- Be prepared. Approved company spokespersons should always be prepared to answer questions and provide information about your company. This includes having a clear understanding of your company’s values, mission, products or services, and key positioning messaging. Ideally, executives approved to speak on behalf of the company are media trained as well. Being unprepared can make you appear unprofessional and hurt your credibility.
- Don’t over-promise. Be realistic about what you can offer, and avoid making promises that you can’t keep. If you say you can meet reporters’ deadlines or get them additional information, keep your word. When you don’t, resulting coverage could prove undesirable or inaccurate coverage, and you will tarnish your image and trustworthiness – both of which are critically important qualities for media relations success.
- Have a response plan. Every company should have plan in place for dealing with negative media coverage or a situation that could lead to it. Without a crisis plan, it’s easier to make mistakes in the heat of the moment that can have serious consequences. Make sure you think through plausible emergencies and how best to respond with a crisis plan that your team is prepared to implement.
Another tip is to leave this kind of specialized work to the kinds of media relations experts at GYC Vegas, a boutique integrated marketing agency. We work with the media every day and use our decades of experience to cultivate PR campaigns that cut through the clutter and boost brand awareness. Our clients include national, regional and local organizations and nonprofits of all sizes in health care, aviation, technology, lifestyle, hotel & gaming, entertainment and other industries. Schedule a free consultation today to discuss how GYC can help tell your stories and set you apart from your competition.