Media relations can help you build brand reputation, strengthen company trust, raise your business profile and establish yourself as a thought leader in your field.
Simply put, the goal of media relations is to provide journalists with a compelling story that not only appeals to the interests of the intended audience but also to the interests of the journalists themselves. When done right, media relations is a useful and mutually beneficial practice that gives journalists an interesting story to report on and provides you with media coverage, helping you reach your target audience and tell your story.
While the term “media relations” may sound self-explanatory and fairly straightforward, the practice of creating and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with the media is an important and often challenging part of public relations.
Over the years, we have been successful in cultivating strong relationships with journalists and other members of the media ecosystem. This month, we sat down with Casey Bohn, our Account Director, to talk about all things media relations.
Having a strong media relations strategy is the key to successfully building and nurturing your relationships with the media. Casey suggests three key elements that will help you create a strong media relations strategy: defining your audience, finding the hook, and consistency is key.
Defining Your Audience.
Defining your target audience is perhaps the most critical component of successful media relations strategy. Your audience not only includes the final consumer of the information, it also includes the journalists and publications you want to pitch to.
You should think to yourself, who does my story matter to?
Defining your audience can guide who you engage with as well as where and how you reach out to them. For example, if your target audience is a younger demographic with high social media usage, you would pitch your story to a journalist who works on the same platforms.
Working with a clearly defined audience allows you to be more strategic, specific and successful with your overall messaging and story idea so that it reaches just the right people.
Finding The Hook.
Simply sending off one-size-fits-all story pitches to a bunch of journalists in hopes that it will get picked up is a futile exercise. It prevents you from building a connection with journalists as they will get to know you as someone who is not in touch with their interests or their audiences’.
Instead, identify your story’s “unique selling point” and use it to craft an engaging hook that will successfully capture the journalist’s attention and make them want to read your entire pitch. To win coverage, you first need to sell it to the journalists you are pitching to. It isn’t enough to simply send a press release without a customized pitch or a hook that ignites the journalist’s curiosity and compels them to follow up with you for a potential feature.
“Think of customized pitches as cover letters that you adjust and tweak according to each job application’s specific requirements” says Casey. “The more thoughtful and specific your pitch, the higher the chances of a call back and subsequent media coverage.”
Media relations can often seem like a long, slow burn with little results to show for it, but the key is to remain consistent with your pitching efforts. The more consistent you are with your pitching and follow up, the more you’ll get on a journalist’s radar.
It can only take one good pitch to spark a strong media relationship. Ideally, you’ll get to the point where you’ll have a journalist proactively reach out to you for a story.
While not giving up on pitching stories is crucial to media relations, it is equally important to remember that there is a fine line between being incessant and being consistent. Respect the journalist’s time, if they decline your idea, that’s okay – use this as an opportunity to thank the journalist for their consideration and try again next time.
Like all relationships, your relationship with the media should be mutually beneficial. At The Agency, we work with a wide range of clients offering specialized products and services to a very specific target audience. This requires us to be strategic in our media relations, engage in direct relationship building practices and develop strong relations with the media.
Looking to build your media relations strategy? Get in touch with us by emailing [email protected].