What began as a public relations and marketing agency in 1997 has evolved into a full-service integrated communications firm with three offices and a team of 15. As Co-Communications kicks off its 20th year in business, we wanted to share 20 surefire public relations and media relations tips that we have found invaluable during our 20 years in business. While the media landscape has no doubt evolved in ways that will continue to have a lasting impact on how news is generated and delivered, the go-to tips allow businesses and nonprofits alike to grow their share of voice and get ink on a local, regional and national level.
- Know your audience – no two reporters are alike nor are any two media outlets. Hone your outreach to the media accordingly.
- Do your homework – reporters receive hundreds of emails each day. Media pitches that are irrelevant to them are not only clutter but a source of frustration that could impede your chances of garnering coverage in the long run.
- Put your news through the “Who cares?” test – while some evergreen news such as new hires, expansions and accolades will always have their place in the media, consistently generating mundane news can prevent your business from securing the feature-length content it desires.
- Focus on relationship building – remember, reporters are people, too! Take the time to get to know the folks who cover the beats relevant to your business and learn what makes them tick.
- Consume the media yourself – if you’re going to pitch it, make sure you’ve read it. Being a student of what makes the front page and every page in between on a consistent basis can help to hone the story angles you are pitching to target media on an ongoing basis. Which leads us up to…
- Be consistent – it is challenging to build relationships with key media and stay on the radar of its readers if you aren’t sending out news on a consistent basis.
- Flex your expertise – when news breaks, media are constantly looking for credible sources who can provide credible and timely commentary on the news of the day. Focus on positioning your organization’s spokespersons as “go to” sources for these timely – and often high-visibility – opportunities.
- Keep an eye on the competition – in a competitive business landscape, avoiding the “sea of sameness” is imperative. Focus on finding story angles unique to your organization that fill in gaps in the media coverage your industry is already receiving.
- Think beyond the news release – public relations, in particular media relations, includes not only news releases but pitches, bylined articles and, in many instances, community relations. Ensure your public relations programs embraces each of these tactics and leverages them to maintain a well-balanced program.
- Blogs are media, too – media encompasses more than print and broadcast. Many industries have well-established blogs covering them that generate high-quality news and are trusted sources of information for their readers. Ensure relevant blogs are part of your news distribution list.
- Spread the news – media coverage has a life that spans well beyond its time in-print and/or on-air. Include links in e-newsletters, in your online news room and share it across your social media channels. Speaking of social media…
- Leverage Twitter as a media relations tool – Twitter can help significantly with building relationships with target media. It can also help to uncover opportunities that you may not have found otherwise.
- Old doesn’t mean obsolete – the cover story you secured for your company in your industry’s leading trade publication two years ago may well have relevance today. Dig through the archives to find media placements prime for social sharing and added exposure.
- Think outside the box – seek to take a new perspective on an already told story. How has the industry evolved since the story was last told? What is the untold story angle tied to this original news?
- Be persistent – not every media pitch is a home run. There are a variety of factors that impact the success of media relations and even the strongest story angle can fall flat if sent at the wrong time. Invest in a long-term program that can yield lasing success.
- Be a source and a resource – the more the merrier. If you know other business leaders who can be valuable sources for the media, make an introduction. Letting reporters know that you are a valuable resource can help to strengthen those all-important relationships.
- Stay ahead of the curve – being first “to market” with a strong news angle can yield great returns. Don’t hesitate to be the source that alerts a reporter to the release of an upcoming report, regulatory change or industry milestone.
- Plan for the worst-case scenario – crises happened and the Boy Scouts motto “be prepared” has never been more true than when a crisis strikes. Ensure your crisis communications plan to minimize the chances of your organization garnering negative press.
- Stand out from the crowd – if the competition is pitching angle a, pitch angle b. Positioning your company as an industry trailblazer can not only garner that coveted ink, but can help to attract prospects and upsell existing clients.
- Take an integrated approach – the best public relations and media relations programs are part of integrated marketing programs that are aligned with overall business goals and company sales strategies. Great media relations programs aren’t executed in silos.
Public relations can help companies to increase brand awareness, build relationships with media and the community, and generate something to “talk about” on social media channels. As you hone your public relations strategy for 2017 and beyond, keep these tried and true tips top-of-mind to maximize your media relations ROI.
Looking for a partner to help take your public relations program to the next level? Contact us today.