Media relations involves working with the media to inform the public of an organization's mission, values, practices, and policies. Establishing and maintaining relationships with the media is very important for a PR professional. Without any type of relationship, the company may not get the appropriate amount of coverage. Part of building media relations is pitching, using active word choice to persuade the journalist to create a piece spotlighting the organization.
Importance of Media Relations
Internet updates have caused the PR profession to shift in the way it operates. Things are becoming a lot faster, including the way the world sends and receives messages through media. Many things have changed, but there are some tools that seem to remain a necessity. An example of this would be media relations. As public relations professionals, it's still our job to get our clients' messages in the news. Establishing relationships with various journalist allow us to do just that.
Take the non-profit organization Greenpeace for example. Their professional approach to communication as well as willingness to reach out to media outlets allows for them to be open to all types of audiences. Providing visual content just makes the job easier for journalists, allowing them to focus on the framing of it all. The news stories published also bring about earned media. Various articles like the one shared below are being distributed and further pushing the agenda of the organization.
Difference between Public Relations and Media Relations
The Public Relations Society of America defines public relations as "a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics." PR teams use creative storytelling to portray a company's point of view to gain public exposure. This can be achieved through many tactics, including social media, special events, or tailoring messaging on the company's website. Media Relations is an aspect of public relations. They use different media outlets and coverage to tell the company's story, rather than directly engaging with the public and key stakeholders.
Building strategic messages
Media interviews provide the best opportunity to maximize exposure. This camera time should be used to the organization's advantage. Briefly answering core questions and expounding on the main points the organization wants to get across is the good way to approach. Language should be plain, not too many flamboyant words mixed in. Only use what is necessary. Doing research on the news outlet is always a good practice as well. Getting to know the journalist will allow a more favorable interview. As a PR professional, it is important to prep either yourself or the spokesperson for all questions. Most journalists will provide a list of questions for the organization to read, but that does not stop the journalist to throw in a new one in the interview.
Pitching the story
Guest speaker Laura Hogue talked about some best practices when it comes to pitching stories to print journalist. One of her main things she couldn't stress enough was the point of contact. It is better to contact a journalist between Tuesday and Thursday. The pitch is more likely to be read during those days rather than the beginning and end of their work week. Hogue also added after 3 pm is deadline time for many journalists. They are trying to finish up many stories for their editors, so this would not be the best time to contact any journalist. An early morning submission will allow him/her time to review the information and make time for it.
Media relations plays a pivotal role in PR. Without it, content would be created, but not shared. There are various tactics and strategies put in place in order to ensure a successful working relationship between PR professionals and journalist. With or without the advancement of media, media relations will always remain a standard in PR.