Business professionals often say that the cardinal rule of success is, “It’s all about who you know.” Not to say that a degree or years of experience should be thrown out the window, but there is some truth to this. Especially in the marketing and public relations industry, media contacts are those you need to get to know – but who are they and why are they important?
When it comes to publicity, think of media contacts as personal lifelines for your business. They typically consist of journalists, bloggers, reporters, editors, and influencers. The main goal of creating media relations is to effectively communicate with outlets to promote a positive image for your company, share information, and manage public perception.
Say you’re looking to get news or updates about your company out to the public; these are the folks you turn to. Take the good old-fashioned press release for example. When you have an official statement to deliver to the media, it starts with sending it over to your contacts who then pass it along to various news and social platforms.
When it comes to making connections with media professionals, it can take some time to meet your perfect match. You want contacts that are reliable, transparent, and willing to tell a compelling story, just as they also expect of you.
Before delving into the essential steps of reaching contacts and establishing effective media relations, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of the “why” behind your efforts:
Credibility – When a reputable news source covers your business and its message, it can significantly enhance your reputation and public perception. The media’s endorsement and verification are like a stamp of approval. It reassures people that your business and its activity are trustworthy and notable.
Publicity – Public interest is a crucial aspect of media relations. Publicity has the power to magnify your message and pass it along to a larger audience. This boost is especially helpful for businesses looking to raise awareness of who they are, what they stand for, and what they have to offer. When the media puts your story or message on blast, this attention helps maximize engagement.
Crisis management – Things don’t always run as smoothly as we hope. When there’s a bump in the road, having strong media connections is essential. Having the right contacts in your corner allows you to communicate your side of the story, which prevents miscommunication from being spread. Media relations you can count on during a crisis can help you work together to handle the problem and resolve it wisely.
Long-term Exposure – Investing in and fostering connections with media contacts paves the way for an ongoing presence in the public eye. When media attention is short-lived, it can disrupt a steady flow of information, ultimately making your business out to be unreliable and even forgettable. When you work to secure media connections, it ensures that your messages resonate with your audience over time and strengthen your credibility.
Now, we know it can be scary, but it’s time to put yourself out there. Remember, not every contact you try to connect with is going to be compatible. When you identify key aspects and intentions that surround your business, establishing media relations you’re confident in becomes that much easier.
10 steps to build effective media relations
- Know Your Audience – Getting to know your audience is essential. Taking the time to understand different media outlets and their following can help you customize your content. Messages that can resonate with your audience lead to greater interest in your business.
- Offer Value – When selling a story to a journalist or reporter, it’s important to back it up with data or insights that can enhance it. Having facts and figures to back up your content shows that your business is credible and reliable. Be a resource, not just a self-promoter.
- Make Your Story a Compelling One – Crafting a compelling story makes all the difference in media coverage. Though important, journalists aren’t sold solely on facts or research; they seek stories that pique interest and sit well with the audience. Creating a story through a unique perspective with captivating details increases the likelihood that your message will be picked up and have a lasting impact.
- Provide Quality Content – Whether it be press releases, images, videos, or other materials, journalists will be more likely to engage with your content. Doing so also makes their job easier, as it enhances their reporting process there are fewer errors to look for and is pleasing to the eye.
- Choose Connections Wisely – Seek out a roster of media contacts that focus on subjects that align with your business and its message. Continue researching and refreshing your contact list to ensure it is accurate and effective. Keeping your contacts up-to-date and in sync with your business objectives establishes strong relationships with journalists and outlets compatible with your brand.
- Be Attentive – Nobody likes getting caught in a game of phone tag, especially if there is a pressing job to get done. Journalists often operate within tight timeframes so be ready to tend to their schedule. Being readily accessible and responsive makes for productive collaboration and communication.
- Respect Deadlines – You should always meet deadlines for submissions, interviews, comments, or information sharing to foster a positive relationship with media experts. Being timely and proactive shows that you are professional, which benefits your brand’s image and coverage.
- Build Relationships – Get to know your media contacts on a personal level. Check out industry and networking events and give them a follow on social media. Going out of your way to make a genuine business connection and putting a face to your name leads to more favorable coverage.
- Honesty and Transparency – Always be open and honest in how you communicate with your media contacts. Authenticity creates trust between you and your contacts, ultimately making them more motivated to work with you continuously.
- Monitor and Adapt – Stay in the loop with your media contacts and coverage. Keep track of what’s effectively working vs what’s isn’t and adjust your approach as needed. Don’t hesitate to ask your contacts for feedback and use their insights to make improvements.
Maintaining Media Relations
Now that you’ve mastered the steps of building effective media relations, you’re done… right? Wrong! Creating and solidifying media relations is an ongoing process. It’s not just about getting your message or content out there once and calling it a day. Here are a few things to keep in mind so your connections continue to thrive:
Regular Updates – Keep in touch with your media contacts even when there’s no pressing news to share. Whether it’s industry updates, relevant stories, or a friendly check-in, this helps keep you and your outlets connected.
Celebrate Achievements – On special occasions or when significant milestones are reached, let your media contacts be a part of it. Share the recognition and express gratitude for their support. Acknowledging this strengthens your relationship with media professionals and encourages them to keep working with you.
Invite Them to Events – Extending the invite to your business’s events, such as a product launch or press meeting, allows media contacts to create more accurate and informed content. It also fosters a more personal and interactive connection.
Feedback Sessions – Organize casual meetings every now and then to connect with your media contacts and get their input on how you can improve your collaborations. It’s a straightforward yet effective way to stay connected, enhance collaboration, and achieve better results.
Media relations can make a real difference in increasing your business’s visibility and reputation and reaching your aspirations. When you network with a purpose, you ensure that your message is not only effective, but meaningful. Even with artificial intelligence on the rise, your contacts and intended audience look for something that’s relevant and has a personal flair.
Still trying to figure out where to start? When it comes time to phone a friend to get your content out there, Inertia is your go-to. We’re here to help you reach the right contacts and secure media relations so your business can get the visibility it needs. Reach us at (267) 470-4070 or email email@example.com.