A cornerstone of public relations is raising the visibility of your brand. Securing coverage for your company, product, executives and/or ideas in key media outlets is a way to this. Consistent coverage hinges on good relationships with the media, and like any relationship, it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and effort.
Before you can start to build these relationships with the media, you have to find them. Identifying the right media is another topic, but it begins with knowing your message and doing your research. Once you’ve built your media list, here are 6 tips to securing coverage through good media relationships.
Tip #1 – Get to know your target reporter
For any relationship to flourish, you have to take time to get to know one another. This is essential, and should not be overlooked when trying to get the media to cover your news. Spend some time reading articles from the reporter and record the topics, angles and style they use. These insights will help you craft the right pitch to capture their attention. Once you start working with the reporter make note of their preferences. Do they like you to send your press release or article submission copied into the body of the email? Do they appreciate a quick phone call to cover details? Do they honor embargoes? Respect these preferences and this will help your media relationships.
Tip #2 – Follow the reporter and share their articles on social media
When you are trying to get a reporter’s attention, you should follow them on social media. This helps in two ways. First, it allows you to get to know the reporter better by seeing what and when they post (see tip #1). Also, it is another avenue to connect with the reporter if you can’t reach them by email or phone. If they do cover your news, don’t forget to show some love for the article via your social accounts. You can retweet or share their posts. Don’t forget to tag them in the posts you write as well.
Tip #3 – Give the reporter what they need to cover your news
Make it easy for them to cover your news by providing all the materials they need. Send reporters an image or photo that can accompany the news. If you are trying to schedule an interview, recommend a few times that your spokesperson is available up front. In addition, they might need bios and headshots of your spokespeople. It is a good idea to have all these supporting resources ready to go because just sharing the press release isn’t enough these days. You want to arm the reporter with everything they need to write a newsworthy story.
Tip #4 – Don’t nag the reporter
Reporters are busy and have full inboxes like the rest of us, so things can slip through the cracks. Following up is a good idea, but do so sparingly. There is a fine line between being persistent and nagging, so follow-up respectfully.
Tip #5 – Provide value through expert insight
For a publication to be successful it needs good, continual content. This is where you can be valuable by providing expert insight on topics. This can be done in two ways. It could be via an interview, where a spokesperson is able to share pertinent information on a topic that really helps a reporter round out their story. Or you could write an informative article for the publication to post. Either way you are providing expert insight that helps the publication and reporter keep up with the readers’ demand for timely content. Plus this is a great way to establish your company or spokesperson as a thought leader by bringing awareness in a non-promotional way.
Tip #6 – Be patient
Before you go out and begin to cultivate your own media relationships, I want to leave you with one last tip. Be patient! Relationships take time and you never know when the right news or spokesperson will get you in the door with a reporter. So don’t give up. Keep researching, engaging reporters on social media, preparing your supporting resources and most of all keep pitching. Your perseverance will pay off.
Investing time and energy into your media relationships is an important responsibility for PR professionals. By following these tips you will learn to develop and nurture strong relationships with the media. With each new piece of coverage you will discover what effective media relationships can do for your brand.