Managing media relations is no simple task.
It includes taking questions, distributing press releases, writing media kits, holding press conferences and more. All of this can feel overwhelming on top of planning an event, dealing with a crisis or running your business. Since 70% of people still read the news so media relations is a crucial tool for every size and type of business.
HOW WE CAN HELP
Our team of experienced PR professionals will work with you in whatever capacity you need in media relations. We have extensive experience in every stage of the process and even when the topic is difficult, we don’t shy away from a challenge.
We often hear people in every level of a company say they feel nervous about participating in media interviews or providing statements. Based on years of experience and research we are happy to provide spokesperson and media training to prepare your team.
Some of our services include:
- News releases
- Story pitches
- Media kits
- Crisis communications
- Media tours and events
- Spokesperson/Media Training
- Targeted media contact lists
MEDIA RELATIONS 101
Media relations is often used as a synonym for publicity. However, it is more accurate to say it is the process through which an individual or company gains publicity. Steps include planning media opportunities by looking at what the company is doing that is newsworthy, developing media materials such as queries, news releases, media advisories and pitches, and contacting media outlets to let them know about the potential story. It also may include preparing spokespersons to answer media questions.
Every company can take advantage of the benefits of media relations to position the organization in front of the public and its internal audiences. Opportunities include new hires, promotions, new product launches, and sharing information about the company’s services or products that are relevant to current events. Associated risks primarily include not being prepared for challenging questions, which could reflect negatively on the brand.
There are many mistakes that can be made in media relations. However, most of them are not so much damaging as they may cause the efforts to be less effective. Common mistakes include trying to get news coverage when nothing the company is doing is new or important, waiting too late to contact the media rather than cultivating a relationship well in advance of a news opportunity, not following up with the media after sending materials, and failing to respond when media contact you.
There are two schools of thought regarding corporate spokespersons. Some companies have one spokesperson only, while others have a primary spokesperson as well as subject matter experts. It is typical for the top official to be a spokesperson for important announcements or messages. However, that person does not always have to speak for the company and, in fact, it can be helpful to use alternatives for every day media interviews.
Executive media training is the most effective way for individuals to learn and practice the fundamentals of being an effective spokesperson. Such training usually includes background information on how the media work, tips for how to look and sound professional, preparation of key messages and responses to likely questions, and practice interview sessions. If media training is not available, watch the news and learn from experienced spokespersons. These often are high-level public information officers, experienced CEO’s and public relations professionals.
Wiser Strategies’ Balanced Mic Spokesperson seminars are an example of customize spokesperson training sessions.
Company representatives who would like to introduce themselves and their companies to a reporter, may set up a face-to-face meeting at the media outlet office or via video conferencing. The meeting typically is short, 15 to 30 minutes, and the representatives may share some background information and ask questions of the reporter regarding the types of stories she or he is looking for and their preferred communication styles. Usually the desk side interviews will only be granted to someone the reporter is interested in covering so it is important for outreach for these meetings to be selective.
Telephone and email continue to be the most common ways to contact a reporter. There is growing use of social media for this purpose as well.
Best practices suggest establishing a relationship with the reporter by following their work, liking posts, and commenting is the best way to begin the process. Increasingly, reporters are responsible for generating engagement on the media’s digital platform. Therefore, they will be more responsive to people who have shown support for their reporting in the past.