Media relations should be the centerpiece of your public relations strategy. It increases brand awareness, third-party credibility and trust among your shareholders and current and prospective customers.
Whether you have an in-house communications team or if you’re partnering with a PR firm, approaching media relations with the right mindset can set you up for long-term success.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula that works for every company or brand. Smart media strategies are personalized to the goals and outcomes of your business.
Here are some ways to think about your approach to PR and media relations:
1. Be Prepared to Pivot Your Message
As we navigate the COVID-19 crisis, companies and brands have had to take a step back from their originally planned communications and marketing campaigns. A global crisis of this scale requires a shift in mindset, as we are forced to embrace a new "normal," which has largely impacted how we do business. Media relations is still important for building your brand image, but your messaging and thought leadership should always take current situations, like a global pandemic, into account.
Read our blog on why communicating your values has never been more important.
2. Be Innovative in Your Approach
The COVID-19 crisis has taught us to look for more creative ways to reach clients, customers and prospects, which means our communications strategies have had to adjust as well. This may mean embracing more virtual media opportunities, interviews and meetings. Maintaining relationships has been invaluable during this crisis. Step out of your comfort zone and always be looking for new ways to make connections.
3. Focus on Quality, Not Quantity
Instead of thinking in terms of how many opportunities you want to get, consider which media you want to pursue and why. An outlet like CNBC may be considered top tier, but it doesn’t mean appearing on it five times will make sense for your brand and message.
PR is about making connections with your audience and determining how you can make the most impact in reaching them. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time to build those quality relationships.
4. You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Measure
The heart of a successful PR campaign is understanding the outcome of your media results and how they fit into the whole communications strategy. Don’t get caught up in outdated metrics like ad value equivalency. Focus on data that show how the news story contributes to your business goals and objectives and use those insights to help shape future campaigns.
Were you in front of the right audience? Was it shared on social media? What kind of engagement did you receive? Understanding the right metrics will clarify how successful you are in reaching your goals.
5. Getting Quoted is Not Guaranteed
Not every interview or meeting will result in a published story. The lack of instant gratification can be frustrating, but it’s worth the effort. PR is about making connections not only with your target audience, but with the media too. Sometimes reporters just want to get to know you and understand where your expertise lies. Or perhaps your quote was included, but the article was shortened due to space restrictions.
Continuing to nurture those connections increases your chances for future opportunities and let’s reporters know that you are a reliable source.
6. Treat Media as Your Thought Leadership Platform
There’s a time and place to tout your products and services. Doing so during an interview is inappropriate, and likely to get cut anyway. Use media to share a unique perspective and demonstrate the knowledge you have in a specific area so you can begin to establish yourself as an expert in your industry.
Sharing relevant information and offering advice without asking for business in return helps to grow trust and a good reputation. The next time a reporter needs a source for their story, you could be their go-to expert.
7. Maximize Your Press Opportunities
When an article publishes or an interview airs, it’s just the beginning. Use your press opportunities to continue spreading your message to a wider audience on different channels. Share your media wins on social media to encourage conversation and deeper engagement. Post them on your website to help increase traffic with new and relevant content. Email campaigns for clients and prospects are another avenue for sharing your media hits.
Earned media is just one part of a holistic communications strategy. Download our free ebook to learn how a blend of paid, earned, shared and owned opportunities can produce an effective digital marketing plan.