7 Things to Know About Media Relations

834 superstars live-tweeting at a client radio interview.

An extra Friday in the month means a Bode Bonus Blog!
I sit here writing this blog, right after #Team834 wrapped up another press conference for a client. There is nothing more enjoyable than sharing client news and seeing it picked up by multiple outlets. It requires…works, lots of work. Lately you see more and more individuals who are trying their hand at the PR thing, after all, it can’t be that hard…can it?
Here are 7 things you need to understand about media relations…and this comes from a place of love and bluntness, because that is how we roll.

  1. It isn’t a magic bullet. We have received multiple calls from potential clients telling us they have a 2 week timeline and they need media ASAP or else…I don’t know what the ‘or else’ was but it sounded super ominous. Here’s the deal, landing an article is not a surefire way to sell more stuff, or to land more clients/customers. It is how you use the media once you get it, and by the way it is an ongoing effort not a shot in the bucket (I have no idea if that is the correct saying). You have to develop media worthy news, cultivate relationships, have an actual strategy – all crazy things, I know. We can rack up earned media like it is nobody’s business, but when you turn around and ask me “Well, it hasn’t increased my sales? Why not? It isn’t working? What are you doing wrong?” What are your goals? (Check #5)
  2. It takes time. Most publications, have lead times. These can be 2 weeks, 2 months or longer. Trade publications typically have a 3 to 6 month lead time. It is why we recommend a strategy, developing goals, developing a calendar, building a story library…oh and blogging. Share your news. Make your own news.
  3. You need a plan. PR isn’t just throwing shit out into the media realm and hoping it sticks. Sit down with your PR team, consultant or whomever and determine your goals (see #5), discuss storylines, develop a timeline and research, research, research. A good PR firm will
    Grand Rapids African American Health Institute media reception.

    do a competitor analysis, audit what you are doing existing, discuss growth, product launches, process, conduct media training and pull a media list (locally, regionally, nationally or all three) and then review it with you. If your PR consultant can’t produce a full media list, chances are they don’t have access to a media database, they are just ‘winging it’ – don’t let that happen. Isn’t your company brand and reputation worth protecting? Ensure you hire someone that actually knows what they are doing. Ask them about their last media campaign, or the last story they landed.
  4. It is not just a press release. Sometimes a release isn’t warranted – ask yourself, is this really news? Sometimes you are going to call up a reporter and talk to them..and no one else. Why? Because they are the right fit for the story. Here is what I can tell you about our process for media releases: 1) conduct interviews 2) write the release 3) write the pitches (targeted and tweaked for each publication and reporter) 4) determine the angle based on the media outlet you are sending it to 5) develop talking points for all media contacts 6) collect photos or graphics to be sent along with the release 7) follow-up with a phone call – do they have everything they need? Anything you can assist with 8) follow-up again and again. 9) send thank you notes – their job is hard, being a jerk only makes it harder. So appreciate their hard work already!
  5. Set goals. Here are a few examples: 1) increased brand awareness; 2) increased interest; 3) increased sales – this could be a shorter sales cycle or higher margins. Other items you need to measure: 1) amount of earned media; 2) traffic from earned media; 3) social media shares. Here is the deal…we got you the attention…now what?
  6. Think out of the box.  Here is the deal, you may have the most boring company in the world, nothing much happens and certainly nothing that matters to the media…does this mean you are destined to never receive any spotlight? Nope. Make your news. Host a community event, develop a fundraising campaign benefiting a local charity, partner with a national brand to implement a program locally…sponsor something…shall I go on? I could, but then you wouldn’t need to hire us to come up with brilliant ideas for you. Like I said, PR is way beyond the press release.
  7. Ongoing relationship. PR is ongoing and it takes time (as mentioned in 2 – see how I am tying everything together-integrated communications is our specialty after all). PR is ongoing reputation management for your company, employees and product/service. If you want to send a one-off press release, then we are not the agency for you. I want you to be in the media on an ongoing basis, it is good for your brand, employees and frankly…I get a heck of a rush out of it.

Spend some time with your PR consultant, realize it takes time to develop consistent efforts and always, always think out of the box.
By the way…I love my job.

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