What exactly is Media Relations?

Media Relations
media relations 01.09.21

The pandemic has changed the rules of PR. Traditional PR techniques are less effective now. The media landscape continues to evolve. COVID-19 has led media relations professionals to tell their clients stories during a pandemic-focused media cycle. The news cycle shows no signs of slowing down and the pandemic and the many challenges associated with it will dominate headlines.

Rules for Media Relations in 2021

1) Shorter leads – Journalists do not spend time writing long articles anymore. It is important not to beat around the bush and to get to the point immediately. The subject line of the pitch should be representative of the story, otherwise chances are that the pitch will never be opened.

2) Trendjacking – With news cycles being faster, trendjacking can prove to be useful. It can strengthen the association of a brand with its core target audience and attract sales leads. It also allows a brand to be seen as relatable and authentic by identifying with causes that matter to the target audience. It drives traffic to digital campaigns and social media channels. Oreo set the standard for trendjacking at Superbowl in 2013. When the power inside the Superdome went out during the second half, the marketing agency of the company, 360i, quickly grabbed the opportunity to put a simple but effective message on Twitter,” You can still dunk in the dark.”

3) Use new media formats- To keep on top of the evolving media landscape, media pros are adopting unique opportunities. TV guest slots are being booked via Zoom interviews and podcasts are being used. Podcasts attract a vast audience.

4) Authenticity is important – Now it is more important to present an authentic story or presence with video content rather than superior production value. According to a study, 76% of online viewers worry about false information and fake news being used as a weapon against them. Hence, authenticity is the key to building trust and can increase engagement, loyalty, and respect.

5) Keep the media list updated- Media lists can become outdated easily, and it is important to keep it fresh. In order to keep the media list effective, it is important to do research and track the competitors’ media coverage. It is also crucial to keep in touch with your audience on a regular basis. It is important to find out which reporters the target audience reads. A short and super-targeted list is more useful than a long and generic one.

6) Build long-term relationships – Nurturing relationships is key to long-term success. This requires time and hard work to set clear client expectations. The initial step would be to identify which media outlet would have interest in the company’s story. While working with digital reporters, it has to be kept in mind that online articles are written for a diminished attention span. Hence, the articles need to be brief and include a compelling lead. When working with journalists, Pr professionals need to be persistent, but have to avoid being pushy. They have to respect a journalist’s deadline.

A couple of decades ago, the word “media” had a much more limited meaning than it possesses today. A couple of decades ago, media relations meant keeping in touch on a regular basis with the assignment editor of the local TV station and the city editor of the newspaper.  If you were a restaurant owner, it also meant nagging the food editor of the daily paper. 

Difference between Media Relations and Public Relations

In today’s world of social media, media relations is so much broader.  In addition to maintaining healthy relationships with the local newspapers and TV stations, it also means opening up and nurturing rapport on so many other fronts. Bloggers who write about your products or industry in particular and who have a large following are critical to foster healthy and positive relations with. 

They can have a huge influence on their followers. Arianna Huffington, for example ranked 77 on Forbes 2018 list of the most powerful women in the world.

Locate and identify the bloggers who best fit your industry or product lines.  One place to start looking is Pinterest, especially group boards. People visit Pinterest to get new ideas and bloggers capitalize on that.  Don’t forget the folks who produce podcasts. Subjects range on everything from sports to food to depression and just about everything under the sun. 

As is true with any new relationship, it’s generally better to start off slow with a new, potential blogger.  Establish a rapport and trust first before making a pitch unless the blogger and/or podcaster is specifically seeking someone with expertise in the area(s) you serve.

Familiarize yourself with their personality and style.  Is it casual or more formal? Study and know the format so you’re armed with this knowledge when you decide to propose a topic.  Gather as much information as you can beforehand.

Others

And then there are special groups on various social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.  Consider joining some of these groups, but before doing so, be sure to check out the do’s and don’ts of each.  Some have strict rules about promoting your company or products. On the other hand, it often helps to know what others are thinking about and what they’re saying.

Tool Kit

You should already have a media kit.  If so, continue to have it available and keep it updated.  If not, be sure to develop one right away. Share it with any new contacts you make.

A good media kit should include general information about your company, products, etc. as well as your contact information 24 x 7.  It should also include a FAQ sheet and other data relevant to your industry. As tempting as it may be to load your kit with tons of information, keep it as relevant within reason and opt to include links to other information that may be helpful instead.  This helps to ensure that what’s in there will be read and not glossed over

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