Media relations – it’s the crux of public relations. It’s storytelling. It’s writing. It’s relationship building. Depending on your clients’ industries, the way you conduct media outreach may differ, but the fundamentals are the same.
Here are the steps for a successful strategy to get your news published:
1. Identify goals and objectives.
The first step is to identify what you are trying to do. Obvious, right? Are you trying to raise money; increase participation in an event; or maybe showcase an innovative new product? Whatever it might be, make sure you can answer the question.
2. Determine your audience.
Who would see the value in donating to your campaign? Who do you want to attend the event? Who would be interested in your product? Maybe it’s families or a specialized niche group, such as engineers. Once you know your audience you should know how to talk to them and where to find them. Your media list should be developed from those who speak to your audience. That might be print, TV, radio, online or a combination of each.
3. Draft the right materials.
Key messages are the facts about what you’re promoting. Once you have them down they can be translated into media materials that engage journalists and earn you coverage. Draft a media advisory that tells who, what, when, where and why and also includes any visual opportunities – this is important, don’t neglect the visual aspects. Perhaps you’ll also draft a press release with the important details followed by supplementary facts to secure a feature story. Pitches, op-eds and news briefs are other options and you should approach each one individually. There is no one size fits all approach.
4. Conduct targeted outreach.
Distribute press materials with a tailored pitch crafted to grab the attention of each individual reporter. Think about why that journalist would be interested in what you’re sending them and craft the message so he or she knows why their readers, listeners or viewers will find your story relevant. Pro tip: Don’t wait until the last minute. Give the media a few weeks to plan – they’ll appreciate it.
5. Follow up.
Email them again. Journalists receive so many pitches, chances are they didn’t have time to react to your email the first time. Following up with additional information is a good opportunity to reconnect and offer something more.
6. Monitor for placements.
Read the newspaper, listen to the radio and watch the TV stations you pitched. When you see or hear a clip your client is mentioned in, save it and share it with them – that’s the ROI of media relations.
And, that’s it. It’s that simple. Are there any other steps you’d suggest?
Marie Boyle was an account supervisor at Franco.