6 Tips to Improve Your Media Relations Skills

September 5, 2017

From building relationships with the media to driving results, media relations can be a complicated process. With a limited number of outlets and unlimited organizations competing for the same coverage, it can be hard to have your client’s news stand out.

However, by doing your homework, building relationships and showing persistence, you can show your clients results.

Below are a few tips on how to effectively execute media relations that will result in having your voice heard over the fray:

  • Do your homework – The first step in effective media relations is to build a concise media list. For example, if you are pitching a restaurant client, do your research and ensure the reporters you have on your media list cover dining. Make sure you are reaching out to the right reporters that are covering the beat you are pitching. Having reporters on your media list that don’t cover the beat you are pitching will not result in coverage and could ruin your relationship with outlets.
  • Build relationships – One of the best ways to ensure coverage for your client is to build relationships with the media. Read the stories the reporters you are working with write and follow up with them on stories they have written that resonate with you. Don’t just contact reporters when you want something. By showing them you are a real person and not just a PR pitching machine, you will build relationships with them. These relationships will help when they need sources for stories as they will want a trusted and reliable source.
  • Keep detailed notes – One thing that annoys reporters more than anything else is when they pass on a story or need additional information and a PR pro tries to sell the story again or doesn’t follow through with what they need. As you pitch reporters, make detailed notes of the results of your conversations. This also will help when you send an update to your client about the results of your pitches.
  • Be persistent – Being persistent and not always taking no for an answer is the key to effective media relations. If you are pitching a reporter via email and they have not responded to your email don’t give up after one email with no response. Email them again and this time mark it as urgent. Also, make it clear in the subject line that this is a pitch and you are following up. Also, picking up the phone and making phone calls is an effective way to get the results you desire. With less reporters per outlet today and more demands on them than ever before, sometimes reporters can’t respond to every email. However, they will answer the phone. Give them a call and explain your pitch, this helps you build relationships with them and may result in a story. Also, if a reporter says no to your pitch ask them why. This helps you determine what resonates with them and could result in another opportunity down the road.
  • Keep your client’s goals in mind – As you pitch a press release, event or new campaign, keep your client’s goals in mind. If their goal is to drive traffic to their website, consider distributing a press release on a wire service, such as PR Newswire. If they want to drive traffic into their new restaurant, consider inviting select reporters in for a special preview event or hosting an exclusive media dinner. Keeping your client’s goals in mind will help you in determine what actions you must take to achieve these goals. Also, as you determine these goals don’t be afraid to be creative. Clients and the media love out of the box ideas that communicate your key messages.
  • Track press coverage – One of the most crucial elements of media relations is communication with your client. Your client wants to know how successful your media relations efforts have been and if you are producing results. One easy way to communicate this is to create a media relations impact report. This report allows you to track press coverage, impressions (the amount of people that viewed your story), the advertising value (the monetary advertising value of your story) and the editorial value (the monetary editorial value of your story). To calculate the adverting value for an online placement you divide the impressions by 100. For print, radio or TV publications you need to correlate how long the placement is and determine what an ad would cost at that length. For editorial value, you always multiply the advertising value by three since the editorial value is always going to have more value because the placement is an earned placement and was not paid for via advertising. This means the placement is going to resonate more with your audience, therefore it is worth more.

By following these easy steps, you will execute effective media relations while driving results for clients and building great relationships that will last a lifetime.