Keys to an Effective Media Relations Strategy

Monday, August 15th, 2016

Media relations is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. Media outreach needs to be tailored specifically to your goals and objectives. Are you launching a new product or flavor innovation? What about sharing news of a corporate relocation? Or are you trying driving awareness for a new visitors center opening? The strategy for each is very different and developing an effective plan from the start will help generate positive return.

Here are just a few tips to keep in mind when executing a successful media relations strategy:

Storytelling

As a PR professional, one of the most important parts of the job is figuring out the stories that resonate strongly with news outlets and blog audiences while ensuring clients’ key messages are being communicated correctly. Having ample industry stats and research along with examples to support your trend or story helps journalists see the value of your pitch. You want to strategically craft your story so that the journalist has trouble saying “no.”

Think about:

  • Who is this story about – who are you?
  • Who is it relevant to – what is the audience you’re seeking to reach?
  • When and where is your story taking place – will it impact a specific region or people nationwide?
  • What is happening?
  • Why is this valuable for people to know about? Why are you (or your client) doing this?

Being Resourceful

After you’ve outlined your pitch angles, you want to make sure you are targeting the right journalist. It may seem elementary, but your results will only be a good as your media list is. If you take the time to dig in to what each journalist covers, their previous stories and even how they’ve reported about the competition, you’ve gotten half way through the battle. Being resourceful extends beyond media list databases to research the right channel and format to pitch each contact. There’s something to be said for sparking interest via social media; however, this agency is still a strong believer in a good old-fashioned phone call.

Building Relationships

In public relations, people are always talking about relationships. After all, it’s in our title! But what does that mean in the age of social media and email conversations? By following the first two tips, you are on the right track to building a basic relationship with a journalist. Giving journalists what they need and not burdening them with fluff develops even more trust and is key to the media relations process.

It takes time to become a credible resource for reporters and bloggers, but the payoff is huge.

Being Proactive

Most brands don’t have budget to reach out to media every week, but they also can’t expect the media to come to them every day. Sure, it has been known to happen, but if you want the media to cover your client, you need to be proactive and start conversation. Staying up-to-date on how the publication is covering similar news helps. For example, JSH&A saw that top food site Chowhound was leveraging live Facebook videos to showcase editorial team happenings such as a Cinco de Mayo piñata party. The team used this insight to lock in a non-traditional “deskside” tasting for client Alexia Foods and pitched an editorial happy hour event to showcase new french fry offerings. The result was a Pinot & Potatoes sampling event for more than 10 Chowhound team members. (You can reach more about the larger Pinot & Potatoes media relations plan here.)

Here are few ways you can stay on top of trends:

  • Set up Google alerts for key terms relevant to your industry, such as products, competitors, services and people
  • Set up advanced Twitter searches and create Twitter lists to follow relevant companies, industry members, reporters and news outlets
  • Be an avid consumer of all news articles from relevant sources
  • Touch base with clients regularly on industry news and topics to see what they’re reacting to or curious about

These four tips have helped JSH&A secure a variety of print, online and broadcast media placements for our clients. From in-studio interviews on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” to feature stories in local newspapers such as the Lexington Herald-Leader, we’ve gotten our client’s stories placed and celebrated the journalist “friends” we’ve made along the way!