Media relations is an extremely valuable tool when done right. It is not something that can be effective overnight; it takes time and strategy to figure out what media to reach and when. It also takes time to build effective relationships.
We have created the list below of our top tips for media relations as advised by our team members who have spent some time as journalists.
It is extremely frustrating to get an email that is completely irrelevant to you. Say you work at an Energy magazine and you get a pitch on “The Top 10 Dog Food Brands of This Year” – obviously that has nothing to do with you and you have wasted your time with this pitch.
Research isn’t just to save journalists’ time; it saves your time too. Mass pitching to media outlets that are not in the same sectors as your client is a waste of your own time since the story will not land. Look into relevant outlets, and journalists whose beat is in line with your pitch.
Part of the research process should include personalizing your pitch to the journalist. Why have you sent them this pitch and why should they be interested in it? This will show them that you have done your research and will help build your credibility. They will be more likely to respond if they know you have specified this pitch to them.
Take the extra time to find the journalists that already cover the sector you are looking to break into and you will see more results.
Read the room.
This ties into research quite a bit. You should know what else is being covered in the publications that you are pitching to and within the general news atmosphere. If the publication you are pitching is doing a special feature for the month your coverage may not be of interest to them. And when you know that, you can hold off on pitching until it is the right time.
Knowing the general news highlights will help you refrain from being ‘tone deaf’ in your pitching. No matter how great your pitch is, it will be ignored when there are major breaking news stories going on. No matter how important an announcement might be for your company, you will always be at the mercy of the current news cycle.
Building relationships with media in your area or field will help you get coverage even when you’re not pitching. The more you pitch quality content, the more you can connect with relevant media. This helps build your credibility and media personnel will start to think of your client as a thought leader.
Once you have built a reputation as a thought leader or expert on a topic, when journalists have a story they are working on and they need a quote or more information they will reach out to you.
Media relations is a great tool for businesses to use as part of their communications program. Although it is not always a guarantee that you will get a story every time you contact the media, it does go a long way towards getting journalists aware of your client or brand. Taking the time to do it right can end up being a win-win for everyone. A piece of coverage in a highly relevant publication can go a long way towards achieving your business goals.