By serving as a credible, third-party endorsement, media relations is a powerful tool that can help achieve specific business goals—from building greater brand awareness and thought leadership, to growing the online presence of your brand and attracting more leads.
However, when it comes to media relations, the popular saying—“life is a marathon, not a sprint”—rings particularly true. In an increasingly noisy media landscape, taking the time to establish and cultivate long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with the media is a critical element of securing meaningful, consistent media coverage for your brand.
Here are three key ways that you can build strong relationships with the media:
1. Develop Good Rapport with the Media
Although it can be easy for brands to view the media as a means to an end, the best long-term approach is to develop a strategic partnership with the reporters who cover beats relevant to your business and/or industry. Media relations is not a one-sided game—and, yet, that’s the very mistake many brands make when pitching the media. Instead, consider how both your brand and the reporter can benefit from your story.
Another way to develop good report is by making a concerted effort to build deeper, more personal connections with the media than can be achieved through a simple email or phone call. For instance, take the time to engage with reporters on their social media channels. Arrange for a time to meet up in person for coffee or at a local event to introduce yourself. Do a little digging to find out the types of stories they usually cover, what they need from their sources and how you can help.
Making these efforts can go a long way toward facilitating more effective media relations on both sides of the equation. Ultimately, building this rapport with the media will help your brand get on their radar and become a go-to source in your area of expertise.
2. Be as Proactive as Possible
In this new era of journalism, reporters are often a very busy, one-man operation. Many conduct research, shoot their own video, take photos, report the story and even edit it—all on a tight deadline, with very few resources at hand. That’s why taking a proactive approach that goes above and beyond the call of duty can make a huge impact when it comes to landing consistent media coverage for your brand.
Before you pitch a story angle, take the time to do some research. Gather supporting facts and/or statistics to back up your story. Anticipate any questions that may be asked by the media, and have answers already prepared. In addition, create a repository of any available digital content—such as infographics, video, images or other visual assets—that can be used to help support the story.
Once you actually secure media interest for your brand, take that extra step to provide whatever the reporter may need for his or her story. Oftentimes, this will include an author byline, high-resolution headshot and contact information for any expert sources.
Believe us when we say that reporters by and large will be eternally grateful if you simply take the time to be responsive, organized and thorough in your communications—boosting your odds of landing media coverage in the future.
3. Become an Invaluable Resource
There are many ways you can position your brand as an invaluable, “go-to” resource in the eyes of the media. Above all else, it’s important to establish a consistent touchpoint with targeted reporters by providing fresh, compelling story ideas on a regular basis.
With today’s rapid-fire news cycle and the growing public mistrust of the media, reporters are facing far more pressure than ever before to find credible and reliable sources—and fast. The good news is that this presents an opportunity for brands to position their organization and its experts as a go-to resource the media can count on to provide relevant insights on emerging trends and timely issues in their industry.
Another way to get in the good graces of the media is to be cognizant of their time and deadlines. Remember—reporters are incredibly busy. Do your best to stick to the deadline provided and, if you need an extension, give plenty of notice. Make it a priority to supply any requested information in a prompt manner. And, although it’s certainly important to follow up if there’s been no response to your pitch, don’t bombard the media with emails or phone calls. Instead, find a middle ground. Typically, a good rule of thumb is to check in via email after a few days to a week, followed up by a quick phone call. If you’re still hearing crickets after this, it’s probably best to move on.
By taking these steps, your brand will demonstrate that its experts are credible, knowledgeable and reliable—making it more likely the media will seek you out as a valuable resource for future stories.