by Nicolle Martin
When it comes to getting media coverage, having a relationship with the media can be just as important as having a good message. The ability to secure positive media coverage is important for any organization, big or small. However, press releases alone are not going to get your company the coverage you need to thrive. You must have relationships with the media, talk to them regularly, have them get to know your key experts and update them when there is something big to talk about.
Know Your Audience
Before reaching out to media professionals, it’s imperative to understand what they cover for the publication and any preferences they may have. We have worked with an editor in the past who literally said, “If you use the word ‘revolutionize’ anywhere in your pitch or news release, I will ignore it.” While this may seem like a minor detail to most, it was a deal breaker for her. And with her being one of the top editors in our space at the time, we needed to make sure to follow this rule.
While this may seem extreme, you need to tailor your pitches to see to it that your content is not only relevant to your business but also to their audience. Research their recent work and find common ground to demonstrate your understanding of their coverage area. If you are working with a PR agency, they will have this expertise already and will guide you through this process.
Building media relationships is just like building any other relationship in your life. You need to show them what you have to offer and that you are there to help them when they need it. Successful media relationships are not just about what you can gain; it’s about being a valuable resource for journalists. Offer insights, data and expert commentary even when it doesn’t directly benefit your business. By becoming a go-to source, you position yourself as a trusted ally in the media landscape.
Over time, editors will see that they can trust you and your peers, and your story pitches and news announcements will get a more favorable consideration.
While digital communication is necessary, face-to-face interactions can be transformative. Attend industry conferences, workshops and networking events to meet journalists in person. These encounters work to humanize your brand and build a more personal connection. Have your PR firm reach out to reporters, bloggers, podcasters, editors, etc., to set up face-to-face meetings while you are at events. This is a great opportunity to have a sit-down with them to showcase your latest offerings and offer expertise on hot topics.
Keep Communications Open
Communication should not be limited to pitch emails. Regularly check in with journalists, inquire about their current projects and share updates about your business that might be of interest. Foster a two-way dialogue to maintain an ongoing, positive relationship. But be careful not to overstep and become annoying. Journalists are busy and receive many emails daily. Use your communications wisely by providing valuable feedback or information when applicable.
Sending a brief email when you see they’ve gotten a promotion or to congratulate them on an article or achievement is a nice way to stay top of mind.
Engage the Professionals
For businesses seeking swift and effective media representation, engaging a top PR agency can be a strategic move. These agencies often have pre-established relationships with journalists, bloggers and media outlets, saving valuable time in building connections from scratch. In addition, you should look for an agency that has specific experience in your industry. That will mean its staff understand the jargon and know all the key players – from journalists to bloggers to industry influencers – and can help to make sure you have the best representation on your side.
Top PR agencies bring not only existing relationships but also strategic expertise. They can craft compelling narratives, navigate media landscapes and position your brand effectively. The investment in a top agency pays off not just in media connections but in the overall strategic approach to PR success.
Building and maintaining media relationships are an art that requires time, dedication and a genuine interest in fostering connections. While it’s a journey that every business should embark on, leveraging the expertise of a top PR agency can provide a shortcut to success. Whether through personal outreach or agency representation, the key lies in fostering relationships that go beyond transactional exchanges, establishing a foundation for sustained media success. By following these tips and understanding the importance of time in relationship building, businesses can navigate the complex media landscape with confidence, ensuring that their stories find a receptive audience in the ever-changing world of public relations.
About the Author
Nicolle Martin is a senior account manager for Edge Marketing. She has more than 20 years of experience doing public relations and marketing in the legal and accounting industries.
Nicolle and her husband have two daughters in college and two dogs – both boxers – that have a lot of energy and keep them busy.