Media relations is one of the most important and challenging aspects of public relations. It involves building and maintaining positive relationships with journalists, and placing your PR stories in a fiercely competitive landscape.
How do you stand out from the crowd and get your message across effectively and ethically?
Chido Nwakanma, President of the International Association of Business Communicators Nigeria, faculty member at Pan African University and former President of PRCAN, shares some great insights in his latest book: “Media Relations Playbook: 25 tested and proven hacks.”
Here are its 10 top media relations tips for public relations professionals:
1. Know your media landscape
Before you start any media relations campaign, you need to understand the media environment in which you operate. This includes knowing the types, categories, genres, formats, and platforms of media available, as well as their audiences, preferences, agendas, and influences. You also need to be aware of the trends, issues, opportunities, and challenges that affect the media industry and your sector. This will help you identify the most suitable and effective media outlets and channels for your communication objectives and messages.
2. Define your media relations objectives
What do you want to achieve with your media relations efforts? How do you measure your success? These are the questions you need to answer before you embark on any media relations activity.
Your media relations objectives should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. They should also be aligned with your overall communication and business goals.
3. Know your target audience
Who are you trying to reach and influence with your media relations efforts? What are their demographics, psychographics, behaviors, needs, interests, and pain points? How do they consume and interact with media? Knowing your target audience will help you craft and tailor your messages and stories to suit their preferences.
4. Develop your key messages
What are the main points you want to communicate to your target audience through the media? What are the benefits and value propositions of your brand, products, services, or causes? What are the facts, figures, stories, and testimonials that support your messages?
Developing your key messages will help you create a consistent and coherent narrative that conveys your desired image and reputation.
5. Build and maintain media relationships
Media relations is not a one-off transaction, but a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship. You need to build and maintain trust, respect, and rapport with the media professionals who cover your sector or industry.
This means being proactive, responsive, helpful, honest, and transparent in your interactions with them. It also means providing them with timely, relevant, accurate, and newsworthy information and stories that add value to their work and audience.
6. Pitch your stories effectively
How do you get the media to notice and cover your stories? How do you make your stories stand out from the hundreds of pitches they receive every day? The key is to pitch your stories effectively. This means knowing how to write and send a compelling press release, media advisory, or pitch email that captures the attention and interest of the media.
7. Prepare for media interviews
Media interviews are a great opportunity to showcase your expertise, credibility, and personality to your target audience. But they can also be nerve-wracking and risky if you are not prepared.
8. Monitor and measure your media coverage
How do you know if your media relations efforts are working? The key is to monitor and measure your media coverage. This means using various tools and methods to collect, analyze, and report your media coverage data and metrics.
9. Manage media crisis
Media crisis are inevitable and unpredictable. They can damage your reputation, credibility, and trustworthiness in an instant. How do you prevent and manage media crisis?
The key is having a crisis communication plan, team, and spokesperson ready. It also means being proactive, responsive, honest, and empathetic in your communication with the media and your stakeholders.
10. Adhere to media ethics
Media ethics are the principles and standards that guide your conduct and behavior in media relations. They are the foundation of your credibility, integrity, and professionalism.
This means following the codes of ethics and best practices of your profession, organization, and industry. It also means being respectful, responsible, and accountable in your media relations activities.
These are some of the top media relations tips from Nwakanma’s book that public relations people will find valuable.