A company’s media image is as good or as bad as its PR team’s relations with journalists. A pitch or not, it’s important to maintain good relations with media. Here’s how to better your relationships with journalists and maintain their interest in your brand. Read on…
- Know your target media. Media is a broad industry, and not every publication or journalist would cover subjects or beats that are of relevance to your nature of business. Hence, it’s important to prepare a comprehensive target media list.
Prepare an exhaustive PR plan covering every target media. Know which journalist covers which subject, and which news piece interests which publication or journalist. For example, for an e-commerce firm, corporate, lifestyle and tech media should be its target media list. However, the kind of stories that interest a corporate or business journalist would be very different from the stories you should pitch to a lifestyle journalist. Ideate different pitches for different sets of media groups.
2. Don’t be desperate for coverage. Never annoy the journalist with too many calls and mails. A skilled communicator knows how much is too much, or at least he should. Sharing every small piece of company update with media, finally adds you in their spam list and your company’s scope of coverage to the backburner. Prepare a detailed quarterly PR plan, and spread it over different weeks and phases. If you have a strong story idea, write a mail to the journalist, listing out points of reference around the story, and ask for a suitable time to connect on the same over a call. In case you don’t hear from him, sending a gentle reminder or making a brief call to the journalist after a few days should be helpful. Of course, your communication and articulation skills play a major role when generating the journalist’s interest in your proposed story idea.
- Adhere to shared timelines. The nature of their job demands journalists to be forever hard-pressed for time. Hence, respect their time and always keep your commitment made to them. If you’ve fixed up an appointment with a scribe, be there on time. For a telephonic interview with a journalist, make sure that the call is made with your spokesperson and wrapped up within the given time frame. Arrange for quotes and guest posts within the committed timeline. Or else, it’s better to politely tell the journalist that a certain request can’t be met within this short a deadline. With this kind of professionalism, you’d become a credible resource for the journalist over time, and he’d love to feature your company and spokesperson more frequently than he otherwise would.
- Keep your communication aligned. Be prepared with your media kit always. Some basics like company profile, spokesperson profile, high resolution images, brand logo should be kept handy at all times. Keep your company and industry facts updated at all times. And make sure that the spokesperson/spokespersons is/are in sync with your brand messaging, any updates and all facts to be shared with media. Conduct media training sessions for the key spokespersons, if you see the need.
- Befriend media, even if professionally. An informal interaction and meetings with a couple of influential media persons, once in a while, helps you all the way in your PR and communications career. It all starts with the first interaction or meeting. Be polite, not timid. Be confident, not arrogant. A pinch of witty humor helps too in making a long lasting impression and relation with the journalist. In short, the way you conduct yourself before media – with confidence, poise and humility (or otherwise) – largely defines your relationship with them.
Media relations are quite critical to an effective PR and communications plan. These tips should help develop a better understanding of your target media and communicate with them effectively, and initiate a lasting relationship.