There are so many ways to get your message across these days, but there’s still nothing better than having someone else tell everyone how wonderful you are. If it comes from someone with influence in your market, or a trusted expert, the message can be all the more powerful and persuasive. That’s where good media relations can come in handy. The media can play an important part in helping you to get the word out there, so it’s important to have a good relationship with the contacts that can make it happen.
Make friends with your media. Aim to build relationships with key journalists and editors in order to get your stories and messages understood and out to the right audiences. Expect to have to work at it. You can’t just send out a few media releases, to a list of contacts, and sit back waiting for them to beat a path to your door.
Get to know who the media influencers are – journalists, editors, bloggers and micro-bloggers – for your products and business sector. You don’t have to be their new best friend but get them interested and you will have a much better chance of getting your voice heard in a crowded marketplace.
When looking for your key contacts don’t forget that media is so much more than the newspapers, magazines and broadcast media such as TV and radio. When you add in the digital dimension the opportunities to inform and impress are immense. Consider them all and choose the ones that best suit your audience, messages and brand. You need to be wherever your market is having a conversation.
Some ideas for improving your media relations
When you have chosen your list of media buddies don’t abuse the relationship.
If you want an ad, buy an ad:
Good media relations isn’t about getting free advertising. Editors want genuinely interesting content for their readers and nothing annoys them more than getting a thinly disguised advert instead of the promised article.
If you want an advert by all means buy an advert but if you want to get a good story out there make sure that the editorial team know that you can be trusted to deliver good content.
Give them something new:
Editors are busy people, and so is your audience, so try not to waste their time with trivia or old news. Make sure you have something new and exciting to say before pitching for an article. It will make your job much easier the next time you want to get their attention.
Don’t be a stranger:
Keep your media contacts in the know, and make sure they are the first to hear when something big is happening. Nobody wants to be the last with the news and editors are no exception. Make sure you know what they are talking about too. Friend, follow and stalk them on social media if necessary. Get involved in relevant chatter and make sure they remember you for the right reasons.
Be a trusted source:
If your business is a service, it’s good to be seen as an expert in your field, and the ‘go-to’ for sound advice and a good quote. Your relationship with the media can help you when it comes to being invited to write articles, provide vox-pops, and contribute to business forums. It all helps to promote your business as a trusted brand – and yes, you might also make some sales as a result.
Clearly there’s much more to good media relations than buttering up a few journalists – but it does help. In the right hands media relations is a valuable tool so get to work on those contacts and treat them with loving care.