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How to Improve Media Relations

Author:

Kirsty Langan

Published On:

January 15, 2024

Published In:

PR & Communications

How to Improve Media Relations

Securing positive press coverage is the goal of PR, but a glowing front page story on a national publication doesn’t just appear out of thin air. This requires a desire to improve strong media constantly, relations guided by a well researched and informed media relations strategy.

Media relations focuses on relationships and communications with journalists and media outlets. Building strong relationships with journalists should be central to every PR strategy – it is vital for ensuring that your key messages are communicated in your coverage. But media is a fast moving world. A contact that you have a strong relationship with one day may be covering a different sector altogether the next. No matter what their industry, every company should be constantly looking to strengthen their media relations to ensure PR activity is successful.

As mentioned above, this all relies on research. This starts with looking at the media landscape. 

Understand the media landscape

Understanding the media landscape means understanding the content that the publications cover. Some may publish contributed long-form thought leadership pieces while others may focus more on covering news from press releases. It’s also important to understand their commissioning process as fully as possible. When is the news team going to be planning content and therefore most receptive to inbound pitches? Who has final say on whether a story goes ahead? 

Similarly, it’s key to understand individual journalists – their interests and how they like to be pitched to. With the media landscape in constant flux it is challenging to keep contacts, and specific journalist and publication requirements updated, so allocating an expert to proactively monitor journalists on an ongoing basis is essential. As well as keeping track of publications, you should be looking at social channels, including LinkedIn, which journalists are increasingly active on.  

Craft your story

Storytelling is at the heart of PR. When it comes to media relations, being able to distil what your company does into a strong, easily digestible message is of the utmost importance. If a journalist can’t easily understand your key messages or insights, there is no chance a reader will.  

Journalists are ever more pressed for time, so your pitch needs to be clear, concise and relevant to their outlet or you risk them declining, or worse ignoring it. This is particularly important when you are looking to secure coverage on time-sensitive stories.

By following these guidelines you can ensure that your brand becomes more instantly understandable and recognisable to journalists, as well as laying the groundwork for long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with them.

Give unique insights from unique sources

Journalists are always on the lookout for anything that is at the cutting edge and newsworthy. Their job is to create content that their readers will be interested in and that means continually hooking them in with something new.

With this in mind, being able to offer unique insights, data or opinions will quickly establish a relationship with journalists as a go-to expert on industry topics.

Offering access to C-suite spokespeople also helps to solidify and maintain strong media relationships, while positioning your team as thought leaders. Opinions that stir up debate, or offer a new or alternative viewpoint are always welcomed by journalists. However, it is important to continuously review content to ensure it is both unique and relevant for the specific journalist and wider industry conversations.

Including visuals such as high-quality photographs, graphs or videos when pitching a story also helps your pitch to stand out to journalists.

Engage with journalists outside of pitches

Building relationships with journalists means more than just pitching them with press releases. There are many other ways that you can build rapport and relationships with them. 

 Informal briefings, off-the-record chats, or conversations at events can all help to build relationships while also allowing for deeper engagement on industry topics. Engaging with their content on social media can be another way to keep a channel of communication open with media contacts.

Securing the best coverage is an ongoing process that requires an expert media relations strategy. Have you got the right strategy in place to meet your PR goals? Get in touch with us here to find out how we can help improve media relations.

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