Many companies fail to include a media relations strategy as part of their content marketing. This means they are walking away from opportunities to gain exposure to massive audiences, getting the SEO benefits of backlinks from high authority websites and often, winning a Google Page One ranking for their priority keywords. Successful digital marketing and communications depend upon Owned, Paid and Shared media strategies, and Earned media is an essential part of the mix. Here are eight rules on to improve media relations:
1. Deal honestly
Not only is honesty the best policy in most things in life, in PR it’s just common sense. No tricks, evasion or hiding the facts; with the media that’s just like waving a red flag to a bull. Be accurate, helpful and have integrity in all your dealings.
2. Work for the reporter
Remember journalists are your most important clients. As a media relations specialist, you need to serve them well by providing interesting, timely stories that their audiences want to hear. Meet their deadlines. Know their beats. Help them out; even if your assistance doesn’t relate to the company you work for. Your reputation among media professionals is a valuable asset.
3. Don’t nag or plead
News is just that, news. If the story is weak or ill-targeted, no amount of pleading will get you coverage. And, when your story runs, and it isn’t what you had hoped for (not long enough, wrong angle) don’t whine. It’s ok to point out factual inaccuracies, but respect the journalist’s treatment of the news.
4. Don’t ask for a kill
Trying to kill a hard news story is a fool’s errand. If you want the media to cover your good news, you’ll have to accept that they’ll cover your bad news too. Asking for kills will only damage your relationships, and that’s never a good thing.
5. Never spray & pray
Use only well-targeted pitches. Angle your stories to suit the needs of each reporter. If journalists are constantly receiving irrelevant news from you, they’ll hit the Del key without giving your release a glance. Think before you click send.
6. Be clean
Regularly clean your media contact database. People move around all the time, it’s your job to know when and where they go. It’s all part of serving the media well. (See Invest in PR tools below.)
7. Keep current
There’s a ton of content online to help you keep up to date with the latest media relations trends. I follow Spin Sucks, PR Daily, the For Immediate Release Podcast and the Marketing Book Podcast, as examples. There’s also a myriad of great media relations books that are worth the time reading, not least of which is the CP Style Guide (or AP Style Book for my American friends).
8. Invest in PR tools
Investing in media relations tools can make the difference between being just good at your craft and becoming a true media relations expert. There’s plenty of free tools, such as HARO and Google Alerts, but by spending a little money on the paid for software offered by Cision or Muck Rack you’ll gain a lot more insight and services. My PR stack includes (in part) BuzzSumo, Cision, TalkWalker Alerts, Ubersuggest, Moz, Google Analytics and I use several more for social media relations too.
Interested in learning how to power your content marketing by adding earned media strategies and tactics? Need media relations training? Let’s set up a time for a free telephone consultation.