One can argue that there is nothing more impactful to public relations professionals than having sound media relations. If a company’s message was a FedEx box, then a public relations specialist is the pilot that flies the package from China to the U.S. The van that takes that package from the plane and to the door step, is the media. Without the van, the pilot would have to get off the plane, find a vehicle, and personally deliver every package. Though this may be fine with consumers; that process would very time and cost ineffective, causing FedEx to be less efficient and in turn less successful. Without well-built media relations, PR professionals could get the message to the public but it not be in the best interest of the organization’s success.
- Have a good story.
The first step to gaining strong media contacts is to have a good story to tell. The goal is to become the person that media personnel want to see in their inbox. If you always have an interesting story to share you will always receive a media outlet willing to share your story. The trick is, not all stories will be particularly compelling standing alone. It is your job to make even the dullest stories sound intriguing.
- Know your audience.
In order to make your stories interesting, you have to know your audience. Not only does this mean knowing the audience you are trying to reach with your message, but also the audiences of the media outlets you are contacting. You would not send a sports story to a fashion news contact or vice versa. The audience is the focus of the message and the media only want stories that will interest their audiences.
- Its all about relationships.
An interesting story can only get you so far, after that it is all about who you know. Not only do you need to know the names of media contacts, but you need to build relationships with these people. These relationships are going to be two way streets; meaning not only will the media personnel try to tell your story when they can, but if they cannot help you they can point you in the direction of someone who can. Not to mention that building a relationship with one person in the media workforce, opens the door to building relationships with many more media related people.
- Have a strategy.
Do not use the same strategy for every story. With each new story determine who you want to hear it, who you want to say it, and what is the most effective way to reach your goals. Using the sports and fashion example again, you would not take the same route to spread the news about a sporting event that you would a fashion show.
5. If you get results, you’ll go far.
Straight from Ms. Potvin herself, “There are two measures of how high you rank on the value chain: knowledge and relationships. Success with media relations is a sure way to show that you are at the top.”
Though some of Ms. Potvin’s steps may seem like common sense to some, they are often over looked when trying to reach out to the media. Whether an organization is recovering from a crisis or spreading good news, having positive media relations is essential for an organization’s success. It is important to have the right stories, told by the right outlets, to the right audiences. There is no easier way to ensure this happens than following these five steps while creating a media relations plan, making professional relationships with media personal, and using those plans and relationships to have overall sound media relations.
To show an example of good media relations here is a video showing how thunder::tech developed a media relations campaign to announce a new suspension system being launched by Prestolite Performance (now Accel Performance Group) at the world’s largest automotive aftermarket trade show, SEMA. To make the client’s new product stand out in a competitive marketplace, thunder::tech collaborated with Prestolite on planning a driving demonstration as part of the campaign. The driving demonstration rides were recorded on video and sent to participants as part of a personalized digital media kit. This media relations project resulted in 16 media hits in six weeks after the show.