Media relations are an important aspect of public relations. Though the two terms are not interchangeable, they go hand-in-hand. Media relations solely focus on the relationship between your company and the media, which in turn has an effect on your relationship with the public. Making sure your media relations are spot-on will ensure you develop a great relationship with media outlets and improve the public’s perception of your brand.
As a business owner, you know that media relations are an important aspect of your relationship with the public. After all, the relationship that you have with the media will determine whether or not you are picked up by various outlets. If your stories are highlighted by the media, you stand to reap several benefits for your company, including increased exposure of your brand, a boost to your reputation, and increased sales and success for your business.
While you might believe that you are putting your best foot forward in regard to your relations with the media, if you aren’t getting any placements, it could very well be because of the way that you are communicating with them. If you want to increase your chances of getting placements with the media, try improving your communication skills. Below, you’ll find 10 tips that will help you better your communication with the media, which will help to increase exposure for your company.
Familiarize Yourself with the Media Outlet
Before you send out an email or pick up the phone, make sure you familiarize yourself with the reporter you plan on contacting, as well as the publication.
Build a targeted list of media publications that you think would have interest in whatever it is that you are pitching. Next, determine which journalists from those publications you should be speaking with. Sending out emails or making phone calls to every journalists within the media outlet won’t get you anywhere. Why? – Because there’s a pretty good chance that your calls will be put on hold, or your emails will be sit in inboxes. If you know who to specifically target, you will be able to make direct contact with that person, which will increase your chances of having your pitch heard or read. However, before you make contact with that person, take the time do some research. Find out more about the individual, including any stories that he or she recently published and topics that are of particular interest to him or her. Doing so will help you develop pitches and story ideas that will capture the attention of the individual, thus increasing your chances of being picked up.
Find Out How to Make Contact
Instead of randomly sending out an email or making a phone call at a random time of the day, find out how and when the reporter you plan on reaching out to prefers to be contacted. Some people like phone calls at certain times, while others prefer communicating via email. And, believe it or not, some reporters do still like to do things the old-fashioned way and prefer to communicate via snail mail.
If you contact a reporter the wrong way or at an inappropriate time, there is a good chance that you will damage your relationship.
Make Your Message Clear
Before you deliver a pitch, ensure that your message is clear. There’s nothing a reporter hates more than receiving an email that is a copy-paste of a press release, or receiving a phone call from a person that has no familiarity with the news that they are announcing.
Exercise Caution with Emails
If you are going to send out an email, there are certain cautions that you should take. For example, you should never send out an unsolicited email with attachments. A lot of reporters are leery of opening up attachments from people they aren’t familiar with, as they could contain viruses. Some reporters just don’t want to be bothered with opening up attachments.
Additionally, you should also make sure that you include an eye-catching subject line that will entice the recipient to open the email. Avoid using all caps or excessive punctuation, as both could indicate your email is a virus instead of a pitch, which could prevent it from being opened.
Lastly, never send out a group email that contains your entire distribution list right in the header. Not only is it impersonal, but it shows that you haven’t put much effort into your communication.
Always Introduce Yourself
Whether you are sending an email or making a phone call, always introduce yourself. State your name, the company that you are associated with and the reason for your call. If you have communicated with the individual in the past, you might also consider mentioning any previous discussions you have had. If you’re making a phone call, you should also ask if it’s a good time to talk. The media is constantly flooded with phone calls and they’re exceptionally busy; the last thing you want to do is impede on someone’s valuable time.
Smile with Your Words
It’s hard to communicate a friendly demeanor over the phone or via email; however, coming off as friendly is exceptionally important. How can you let the person you are communicating with know that you have a friendly disposition? Let it show in your words. If you’re sending out an email, use thoughtful phrases. If you’re talking on the phone, be upbeat and optimistic. A positive attitude goes a long way, especially when it comes to developing a relationship with the media.
Always Follow Up
So many people make the mistake of not following up. They send out an email or make a phone call and sit and wait for a response, often never receiving one. Follow up. Remember: reporters are busy. There’s a good chance that your phone call or email has gotten lost in the shuffle. Following up will help to ensure you are heard.