In a way, marketing is to advertising what public relations are to media relations. The latter are parts of a bigger whole. They are inseparable, interconnected, and powerful tools in every outreach strategy.
Successful marketing is expected to conduct a message from the brand to a wide audience. One of the channels used for that purpose is media relations.
What are Media Relations?
Media relations (MR) is a symbiotic bond between the public relations team and journalists. Every reporter knows how much time and effort it takes to gather quality information and build a story.
Journalists profit from this cooperation by receiving a quick and easy access to relevant info. On the other hand, brands need PR and especially media relations, because it provides free advertising for the company. This is something no brand can afford to miss.
Moreover, media have expanded from the original term encompassing traditional news outlets such as newspapers, radio, and television. Nowadays, social media and blogs have joined the family.
Creating and maintaining proper relationships with editors, journalists, and bloggers is a vital step towards successful advertising via media. However, traditional media is not only a gateway to a broad audience. It gives your brand credibility through its hard-earned reputation.
What is the difference between MR and PR?
It is very important to clarify the difference between these two expressions. Because most identify media with the public, it is important to stress that the public is a wider term. It refers to all stakeholders connected to a brand in any way. Thus, media relations refers only to a part of the group of stakeholders – media representatives.
Media relations is a connection that the corporate communication department makes with the public through media. While PR addresses all stakeholders at once, MR does it through various media outlets.
With the expanse of the internet, it has become difficult to draw a strict line between media and public relations.
Millions of blogs, in the US only, have created a base for internet media. It was only natural that this modern media becomes the first choice for internet businesses to promote their services and products.
How does it work?
Media relations begin with an update or news a company wants to distribute. This task befalls the PR team and more specifically its MR experts. The news must be prepared in a public-engaging way and then presented.
Every MR team or professional should develop and nurture as many good quality relationships with contacts among media representatives as possible. At the same time, with a contact inside the company, journalists will have a focal point to address when they need to and get a reliable answer on time.
For example, if you need packing supplies when moving your offices you will contact a moving company. Similarly, the journalists seek veritable information about your product or service on its source, through your media relations representative. That way there’s no ground for miscommunication.
Successful media relations rely on several tools that help MR professionals connect with journalists. Some of those tools are HARO (Help a Reporter Out), BlogDash, and Muck Rack.
HARO allows MR pro to connect with journalists and become a source, BlogDash provides access to thousands of bloggers, and Muck Rack allows users to search its database for journalists, bloggers or freelance writers and get a notification when they share a link or specific keyword. Once those relationships are built, the next step is to keep them and enhance them.
How to improve relations with the media representatives?
Once you choose a correct PR strategy, you should focus on your relationships with journalists. It will increase your chances for better media coverage, among other things. The key tips to enhance your media relations is to
1. Respect reporters that contact you. It doesn’t matter if the publication they currently work for is not related to your industry. Also, you shouldn’t ignore the interns, either. You are most likely to meet them all at some point. At that moment you and the brand you represent would need an ally.
2. Provide veritable information. Don’t forward overrated or false or misleading information to journalists. Not only it will certainly harm your relationship, but it will damage the reputation of the company you represent.
3. Share only newsworthy information. Spamming journalists with news for the sake of news leads nowhere. Information you should provide needs to have value or it’s a waste of everybody’s time. Otherwise, journalists will ignore you.
4. Deliver information before the deadline. As it has been mentioned already, time is precious. Even more so in the world of journalism where everybody is working with very tight schedules. Respect the schedules journalists give you. If you can, deliver the information even ahead of time.
5. Make time for the journalist. Proving yourself as a reliable source is vital for future cooperation with the media. If a reporter is interested in an interview with you, accommodate him/her in a given timeframe. If you can’t spare some time to help them yourself, make sure that you send a colleague with an excellent grasp on the topic.
6. Tailor your answer to the publication’s target audience. One story can be told in several ways, and its success depends on how it’s accepted with the audience. Investigate the target audience that reporter normally addresses and tailor the information you’re providing. It will show your interest in cooperation and improve the chance that the article is published.
What makes media relations strategy successful?
There a few more important aspects of media relations, aside from an excellent relationship with the media representatives. Those aspects are storytelling, resourcefulness, and a proactive attitude.
Stories that are being shared are those that resonate strongly with the audiences and properly spread the company’s message at the same time. To make the sharing part successful, you need to choose the right reporter from your list of contacts.
Moreover, knowing which topics each reporter normally covers is vital. Finally, if the journalists don’t contact you often, you contact them. There’s nothing wrong with more than a touch of assertiveness and persistence.