Media Relations involves working with media for the purpose of informing the public of an organization’s mission, policies practices in a positive, consistent and credible manner. The goal of media relation is to maximize positive coverage in the mass media without paying for it directly through advertising.
Generally, people believe that media and PR relations interchangeably but that is not so. Media relations refer to the relationship that a company or organization develops with journalists, while public relations extend that relationship beyond the media to the general public. Organizations often compile what is knowns as a media list, or possible media outlets. The media can consist of thousands of magazines, journals, news channels, articles, blogs, radio stations etc. it is important for a public relation representative to read all the current happening and accordingly help the organization to get the positive coverage about businesses.
Organization generally send the flowing information to the media:-
- Launch of new products/service
- Initiation of new factories/offices
- Financial results
- Organization sponsored events or awards
- Launch of organization promotional campaigns
- Recent disasters, strikes or organizational closures
- Awards/accolades for the company
- Visits from company dignitaries/celebrities
- Involvement in local/community activities
- Community engagement
Importance of Media Relations:-
Media relations stress on third-party endorsements of the product, service, firm or a particular individual and then using the third part to disseminate the information to the target audiences.
Paul Argenti, a public relations expert is quoted as saying that “the media is both a constituency and a conduit through which investors, suppliers, retailers, and consumers receive information about and develop images of the organization”.
Howes and Sallot assert that the “endorsement effect” is what has motivated public relations (PR) practitioners to consider when developing communication strategies.
The reason for importance of media relations are as follows:-
- Positive news coverage offers higher credibility as compared to paid advertising.
- The cost of coverage in media is lower in comparison to the advertising cost.
- A third-party endorsement is a good idea to establish the reputation of an organization.
- It allows the press to give business coverage so that the audiences get to know about the company’s products, services. It also helps companies in building their brand presence using media.
- Businesses need it to maintain long-term relationships with the media professionals so that they are able to bag advantages in the future.
- When a company maintains a good relationship with the journalist, it becomes easy to pitch them for coverage.
- One of the essential aspects of getting press coverage via robust media relations campaigns is that you are able to build more control and reinforce the brand image that you are aiming to create through advertising and marketing.
Sources of Media Information:-
The newspaper is the most accessible and widely used channel of media which is used by people. Companies use newspaper an instrument to persuade the masses or to form their opinion about an incident, policies, reputation etc. Today, all businesses go for a press release to reach to the wider audience.
Therefore, it is a duty of PR person to use this tool of media information wisely. He should provide accurate facts and help the organization to get the right publicity to reach their target audience. The PR person should be smart enough to release the accurate facts in media so that his motives are not doubted and his credentials should not be questioned.
The PR should maintain good relations with press consisting of editors, columnist, and publishers. In large organizations, the PR department has a separate press office managed by a separate press officer.
The Press Office consist the following functions:-
- Issuing news and initiating articles, features, and reports
- Answering press inquiries and providing a comprehensive service
- Monitoring the press radio and television and evaluating the results taking steps appropriate to correct misstatements or to initiate counter – publicity.
- It is not a policy-making body. Their duty is to submit the key information to press. They should manage to get the coverage based on the speed and accuracy of facts.
The Press Officer:-
The press officer duty is to assess the press and do proper reporting. The press officer makes sure that information about an organization which will help the company to get a positive reputation should be reached on time to press. The press officer makes sure that the information about company reaches on time and wider distribution. The press officer job is dynamic and full of responsibilities. He is not being expected to take any other responsibility in an organization. The main objective to hire a press officer in an organization is making sure that the press can receive prompt attention to the needs.
A good press release must be brief, simple language, newsworthy, factual truth, suitable for publication, and answer to five “‘W”s – Why, Where, When, What and Who?
It is also important for an organization to make the material in any organization based on its content, concise, clear, readable, and revised.
For different sources of media, different writing information to be done. A successful PR practitioner knows that what needs to put in the news and make the news appealing and convincing enough to their target audience.
Building Effective Media Relations:-
When describing the PR concept, Christophe Penn explains that the goal is “to create as much of a relationship and value with media contacts up front.”
Andrew Grossman, Senior account executive at Lewis PR has listed the following tips for effective media relations. the below information has been used through his published blog. the link is mentioned at the end of the blog in a reference list.
Before the Pitch: Research Your Angle
Research is a key to get all the relevant information. The PR practitioner should do proper research about the information before sending to the media sources. They need to understand the perspective very well. Every time, it is not possible for them to bring new ideas etc. but definitely they can bring fresh insights in content which should have mass appeal.
Find the white space.
PR practitioner should make a research about the information which has been uncovered and can address the brand of an organization.
- Show media that you’ve read their news and tailor.
People want stories which connect them emotionally. The PR practitioner should build up stories with certain backgrounds which have mass connect. There’s no need to lie. A factual and emotional connect with audience sell the project.
- Create a perfect story.
The “perfect story” sometimes isn’t good enough to get covered today, especially when it’s soft news. Find trusted third-party data points, trends and other insights you can weave into your pitch to make it easier and more compelling to cover you.
Before the Pitch: Anticipate Needs
A quick list of things to sort out before pitching:
- Does your reporter often use images? Video? If so, pull some great visuals together to save your media from having to hunt for images in addition to writing about your news.
- Spokesperson availability. What if your story is going to be slated for tomorrow? Are you prepared to get your spokesperson on the phone? Don’t let email or phone delays for pulling availability be the thing that keeps you from getting an interview.
- Quotes and press materials. Some media can write around a press release, or they’ll just want a simple quote from your team. Get your press materials prepared and approved beforehand, so you know what you have to offer and can click send right away.
- Your media may ask you about timelines and plans related to your news. If you’re so focused on the current announcement that you’ve lost track of what you can speak to in the future, you might get yourself into a jumble.
- Third-party experts. Most media will find third-party experts if needed, but if you can offer recommended partners who can flesh out your storyline along with interviews of your own team, you’re cutting out work for media, being helpful and having greater control of the message you’re conveying.
- Questions and answers.It’s always good to take a step back from your news and think critically about the types of questions someone might ask. Prepare your Q&A beforehand, if possible, so you’re ready to respond as soon as possible should question arise.
Pitch: Introductions and Contacting Media
You’ve done all the work to prepare, but don’t forget that at the end of the day, we’re in the business of working with people! Take advantage of these quick tips whenever possible to ensure your emails or calls are well-received when it comes time to pitch.
- If this is the first time you’re reaching out to media, be sure to take a moment to introduce yourself and the brand you’re representing. Make it clear to the contact you’re pitching what kind of news you intend to share in the future, how you can help them and the resources you have at your disposal.
- Ask questions. Take the opportunity to ask if there’s anything that reporter is hoping to hear about specifically from you already and if they’re open to discussing editorial interests. They may already have an idea of what they want from you. No need to blindly pitch if they’re willing to tell you what they’re looking for.
- Expressing your intentions.Taking a moment to state that you have an interest in sharing relevant, helpful information, can go a long way toward building a great relationship with media. Remember, there are good and bad PR pros. You want to make it clear that you’re one of the best and you’re not here to waste time.
- Connect on a personal level. Don’t spend so much time “working” that you forget to treat media like humans. It’s okay to wish someone a nice day, ask them how they’re doing and learn about them as people. Build a real relationship and forget about the work for a second. These kinds of genuine relationships extend beyond the beat that reporter is assigned to and can help both of you in your careers down the line.
- Social media. Most major media are required to amplify their digital news via social media. Help a reporter out! Share their news, read it, comment on it, etc. Take advantage of the opportunity to connect via platforms like Twitter, where it’s expected and even encouraged to interact with the wider public, not just close-knit friends. This can help you stand out in a crowded inbox.
- Ask yourself what’s vital vs. what’s interesting. When deciding what to include in your pitch, ask yourself if there’s anything you can save for follow-up. If something isn’t critical, you risk it standing in the way of the information you absolutely need to convey to media. Be the skeptic about your writing and get a second opinion if you need to.
Maintenance: Practice Good Habits and Earn Favor
Remember, reporters and editors, don’t need to work with PR pros. At every turn, do your best to make sure it’s clear that the relationship is mutually beneficial. Do favors, be genuine and be helpful. Here are a few things to shoot for.
- Honor timelines or beat them. Work with your media to get them the information they need in advance of their deadlines, not right before them. Think about their schedule. Time is a fantastic gift — the more you give it, the better reputation you’ll have for coming through in a pinch and making their jobs easy.
- Offer and honor exclusives. An exclusive piece of news that’s perfect for one of your media targets can really make a reporter look good with their team, but be careful not to offer anything you can’t deliver on later.
- Amplify news. If you’ve received coverage from media — again — the job isn’t done! Show your appreciation by sharing across social networks, in email newsletters, and in the newsroom. Feel free to send a note of thanks. Do what you can to bring readers to that piece of news. Media are tracking engagement with online news, as well as traffic. If they see your news is getting great numbers, that’s a signal to keep covering it.
- Read and engage with news that’s not about you. Make it clear you’re interested in your contact’s news and that you’re following their beat. In the long term, you might find this kind of effort and understanding leads to opportunities for your clients to be quoted as a source. It also keeps you savvy for pitch writing.
- Bring your reporter in as an expert. Media are some of the most current and savvy when it comes to their beat. They receive pitches all day long about the latest in the industry. If you have an opportunity to conduct a roundtable, you’re participating in a webinar, you’re commissioning an e-book, etc. that fits in their space, look for chances to invite them into the fold and pull from their expertise.
- Stay in touch.Don’t just pitch once and drop off the map. Share relevant news and information about your clients as an FYI to reporters and continue to think of proactive story angles. Your goal is to build a reputation as a fantastic resource for that contact. There are lots of ways and reasons to stay in touch. So keep track of your budding relationships and nurture them!
Principles of Good Media Relations:-
Today, media has encroached in all parts of life. No company can work in isolation. They need to get the right audience for their sustainability and business. Therefore, it is important for PR of a company to maintain good media relations.
The guidelines for building effective media relations are as follows:-
- Identify the appropriate media contacts: – it is important to get connect with right connect rather than moving here and there. Make an effort to get the contacts who have a word, appeal and reach to the masses and willingness to cover the important and positive aspects of an organization.
- One voice – it is important for an organization to have one point contact and he should speak positively about the organization.
- Answering the questions – sometimes, a PR also has to face lots of allegations or need to clarify certain doubts or queries from audience side. The PR person is expected to give the answers to the questions without losing the temper and aggressive in nature.
- James D’Ambrosio states that it is important for a PR to maintain a good relationship with Media. He further states that placing stories consistently requires building good relationships with reporters. Find out which reporter(s) cover your topic area and call them. Introduce yourself and your agency, emphasize you can be a good source of news for their readers/viewers, and invite them to visit your Web site. Also determine their preference for receiving news releases — fax, e-mail attachment, the body of an e-mail — and their deadlines.
- Good media relations often comes down to this: Providing the right information to the right reporter at the right outlet at the right time in the right way.
- It is also important to make media as an ally, have a friendly approach, openness and respect mind.
- http://www.adweek.com/digital/the-pr-pros-guide-to-effective-media-relations/ retrieved on 23rd February 2018
- https://www.cision.com/us/2015/02/7-ways-to-build-better-relationships-with-journalists/ retrieved on 23rd February 2018
- http://www.nwcphp.org/communications/news/six-tips-for-effective-media-relations/ retrieved on 23rd February 2018
- https://jamesdambrosio.com/tag/media-relations-principles/ retrieved on 23rd February 2018
- http://smallbusiness.chron.com/10-principles-public-relations-10661.html/ retrieved on 23rd February 2018
- https://nicklucido.wordpress.com/2009/03/10/good-media-relations/ retrieved on 23rd February 2018
- https://www.thestandard.co.zw/2017/04/09/media-important-role-public-relations// retrieved on 23rd February 2018
- http://www.thewakemanagency.com/importance-media-relations/ retrieved on 23rd February 2018
- http://popkorncommunications.in/importance-of-media-relations/ retrieved on 23rd February 2018
Kavita Mishra Pandey
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