How do you start media relations?
Updated: Feb 18
Most businesses want to get featured in the media because they can see the benefits of raising their profile.
A good news story acts like a turbo-charged testimonial. It shows your business has been selected, over many other options, to be ‘reviewed’ in one way or another and has come out the independent process (you haven’t paid for it) positively.
This coverage can win you further media coverage and gain you competitive advantage as the expert at what you do. You can rebroadcast everything on your own communication channels to remind and reassure current followers of your value. You can leverage it to gain investors. It can bring you leads and customers who you could not reach previously.
Yet despite all these potential returns on investment, going after media coverage can fail to make it to the top of a business’s priority list. Until a competitor gets it! Some of the hesitancy comes from a correct awareness that this will take an investment of time AND the results are unpredictable.
If you don’t have the time to put into media relations, you would do well to cross it off your to do list altogether. It is ALWAYS time-consuming.
And yes, it is usually a bumpy and unpredictable process. So if you have no appetite for that you are far better off putting all your effort into the stories you tell on your own social media channels instead.
Here are 4 things to do to start.
1. Consider WHY you want media coverage before you go anywhere near a journalist. All reasons are valid but if you really aren’t sure why then don’t start until you are
2. Don’t fall in love with your story, love your business. What I mean by this is don’t go out all guns blazing with a story you are convinced the world needs to hear. From a journalist’s point of view, stories are tied to sources. So if the source (your business) doesn’t make sense to them or doesn’t seem to fit the story (to their mind) then they will drop it altogether or take your story idea and use it in a way which may not benefit your business. Choose a story which fits your core business activity and objectives
3. Write a good press release. Make sure it includes ALL the elements journalists look for when considering a release. Give enough time to this. Refer to it throughout the pitching process. This is your blueprint and your best chance of getting the story you want told the way you want
4. Choose which media outlet you want your story to appear in. Don’t send out all over the place, especially when you are starting out. Make a priority list and work through it. You want to spend your time efficiently, collaborating with the outlets which you most want to appear in. For most businesses there is an obvious outlet in their sector or demographic to go for but you need to work this out. Again, don’t put your story over your business. You want to build relationships with an outlet that gets your business, that you can go back to over and over.