The media, it’s everywhere! Whether it’s TV, radio, the morning paper, the monthly magazines, or articles that appear in your Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn feeds, it’s what keeps you updated with what’s going on, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
These messages that you receive through a number of means each day, they reach a large number of people and often have quite an impact on people’s thoughts and maybe even actions. So how can your business get in on the action?
Media relations involves working with the various arms of the media to keep your business’s key target audience informed and updated on what’s happening within the business and what it’s all about.
Within this guide, I’m going to cover some of the reasons why media relations is such an integral part of the communications plan for any business, and a few steps to help you prepare to take on the task.
So the obvious place to start and the question that needs answering, ‘why is media relations so important and brutally good PR?’
Well the reasons are pretty endless, but here are a few key ones for you to think over. Reasons that are important whether you’ve been in business for 5 minutes or 50 years.
You’re doing incredible things on a daily basis, incredible work that could persuade new customers to choose your business over your competitors. But they’re not going to do that if they’ve never heard of you and therefore don’t have a clue of your brilliance.
This is where media stories come in useful. They not only increase awareness of your brand and what you’re all about, they shout about the amazing work you’re doing, helping massively to build up a positive reputation.
Potential customers also want to know that you’re the best of the best and an easy way to do that is to position yourself as a business leader using the media to spread the message
Media relations isn’t just about press releases, it could be writing a feature style article that highlights your opinion as a leading one in the industry or on a particular topic, video comment, social media or simply providing an opinion that could be included within a wider discussion.
It’s important to understand a number of elements when it comes to media relations
- The journalist
They come in all different shapes and sizes (meant more metaphorically but I guess they literally do) and all work in very different ways.
For some, time is of the essence. For those who have daily papers to fill, or a quota of stories to go online each day, a pre-written press release goes down a treat. They then have all the information and quotes they need in front of them and much-valued content.
If you ask them to carry out the interviews themselves, only providing them with the basic background information, unless your story is massive news, it’s unlikely they’ll be interested or have the time, even if they are.
Side note and shameless plug
If writing a press release for your company sounds like hell on earth, or is something you just don’t have time to do, it’s our speciality, the bread and butter of what we do for clients, day in day out.
Not only are we bloody good at it, we enjoy it, and we’re more than happy to work with you to get something written up ready for you to send out.
On the other hand, you may have journalists who would rather put the story together themselves. If this is the case, best to not just give them a press release and be done with it. Open yourself up to them as a source they can use and most importantly come back to in the future.
Best way to go about contacting journalists? Pick up the phone and have a chat. I know I know, we’re in a technical age where people don’t call one another anymore, but trust me it’s for the best. It gives you the chance to build up a rapport with the journalist, pitch your story to them, find out if it’s of interest, and if it’s not find out what you can to change it so that it is.
If you can make their life easy, they’ll remember that, and they’ll be more likely to come back to you for future work. You’ve positioned yourself as a business they can trust.
- The publication
Again these vary massively and quite honestly, If you want to build up a relationship with these publications and prove to them that you’re a trustworthy source for them to use for stories and features in the future, you need to understand them.
Take the time to look over what they’ve covered in the past, the writing or presenting style, take note of any regular features they run that they might need support with.
All this information will help you approach them as a help, not a hindrance, and as it will be in your business, you avoid hindrances like the plagues and embrace helpers. This is the position you want to be in.
So that’s media relations in a nutshell (I could go on all day but I’m sure you’ve got lots of importance bits to be getting on with) and I’m sure you’re thinking one of two things.
Either, ‘bring it on, I’ve got this’ or ‘well that sounds horrendous, and a massive drain of my time’
If it’s the latter, absolutely no bother, that’s what we’re here for! From identifying the initial story, to writing up the press release, achieving a heap load of coverage in all your target publications, and making sure it gets in front of your target audience, we’ll take care of the whole thing.
A great example of a recent media relations project we carried out, was working with Orangebox Training Solutions, a training provider based in the North East and operating across the UK.
The company was celebrating its second birthday and Orangebox’s founder and Managing Director, Simon Corbett, came to us to work on a news release to show how far the company had come in its first 24 months, and what its plans were going forward.
After an hour-long conversation with Simon, I had all the information I needed for the story and I went away and wrote up a release, tailoring the news line to the various publications that we were targeting. A strong photo often sells a story so I made sure to also get a group photo of the team with plenty of Orangebox branding in the background to help raise awareness.
Within a matter of weeks, the story was everywhere. From some of the largest online business news platforms, such as Bdaily, BQ and Insider Media, to the key regional publications, including Teesside’s Evening Gazette and The Northern Echo and Tees Business, we made sure the story was in front of all the right people in the North East.
So I hope that’s been some insight into how to approach a media story. Of course this is our website so here’s our own shameless plug…..
Want Publicity Seekers to look after your brand and shout about your business? Talk to us today about a communications audit, social media management, content creation, video media and award submissions.