Media relations is the practice of managing communication between an organization and the media. It is both an art and a science that falls under the umbrella of public relations.
What is the goal of media relations?
The goal of media relations is to generate positive publicity, build relationships with key influencers, raise brand awareness, and protect an organization’s reputation. It can be used to broadcast a company’s goals, accomplishments or products via media outlets, including television, newspapers, magazines, radio and podcasts.
Is media relations and public relations one and the same?
The two terms are often used interchangeably, but they are quite different. Public relations (PR) is a broad field that covers many different activities, one of which is media relations. But included in PR are also press releases, thought leadership, speaking engagements, community relations, and crisis management, just to name a few. So while all media relations is public relations, not all public relations is media relations.
How does media relations differ from traditional advertising?
There are a few key ways that media relations differs from advertising.
- Advertising also allows you to control the message that is being put out there, while media relations relies on reporters and editors to interpret and share your story in their own words.
- Earned media (coverage that results from media relations activities) is often seen as more credible and trustworthy than paid media (advertising). This is because publicists develop strong relationships with members in the media, such as reporters, journalists and publications (including conventional newspapers and online digital magazines). Through these relationships, publicists are able to place stories about their clients in the media that will be of interest to the publication’s readers.
- Advertising is also a one-way conversation, while media relations allows for two-way communication between an organization and its audience. This two-way communication is key in building relationships and trust with the media and the general public.
- Advertising is a paid form of promotion, while media relations is a form of free publicity. Of course, publicists still need to put in the time and effort to secure media placements, but once they do, it’s essentially free marketing for their clients. As a result, readers and viewers tend to see these placements as news, not self-promotion.
What are the benefits of good media exposure?
There are many benefits that come with having good media relations. A few of the most notable perks include:
- Generating positive publicity: This is perhaps the most obvious benefit of media relations. By pitching newsworthy stories and working with reporters, you can score some major PR wins for your organization.
- Increased visibility: One of the main benefits of media relations is increased visibility for your organization. By generating positive media coverage, you can raise awareness of your brand and reach new audiences.
- Improved reputation: Another benefit of media relations is an improved reputation. By generating positive media coverage, you can improve how the public perceives your organization. This can ultimately lead to more customers, investors, or clients.
- Building relationships with key influencers: When you have a good relationship with members of the media, they’re more likely to be open to your pitches and receptive to your story ideas.
- Raising brand awareness: If you can get your organization’s name in the news, you’ll be able to reach a wider audience and raise awareness for your brand.
- Protecting your organization’s reputation: In today’s 24/7 news cycle, it’s more important than ever to be proactive about your organization’s reputation. By maintaining good relationships with the media, you can help mitigate any negative press that comes your way.
What is involved with media relations?
While the day-to-day work of a publicist will vary depending on their clientele and the news cycle, there are some common media relations activities that most publicists undertake, and they involve a whole lot more than sending out pitches!
- Researching reporters and publications: In order to secure media placements, publicists need to know which reporters cover which topics, and what kind of stories each publication is interested in. This research can be done using online tools like Muck Rack and Cision, or simply by reading the news every day.
- Building relationships with reporters and editors: Once publicists have identified which reporters they want to pitch, they need to start building relationships with them. This can be done through social media, in-person networking events, or simply by sending them a pitch that’s relevant to their beat.
- Creating and distributing press releases: Press releases are one of the most common tools used by publicists to generate media coverage. These documents provide reporters with all the information they need to write a story, and can be distributed electronically or through the mail.
- Planning and executing media events: Another common activity undertaken by publicists is planning and executing media events. This can include everything from press conferences to product launches, and is a great way to generate positive media coverage.
- Monitoring the news: In addition to generating their own news, publicists also need to keep an eye on the news cycle to see how their clients can be involved. This involves reading the news every day and being up-to-date on current events.
Media relations isn’t always positive
While PR companies will mainly use positive media relations tactics to generate positive coverage for their clients, there are certainly times when they also must respond to unfortunate occurrences, such as product failures, company scandals, poor reviews or ethical issues. In these cases, an organization would likely benefit from media attention in order to get the negative publicity under control, or give their viewpoints and thoughts on the matter at hand.
Media relations is what we do
At its core, media relations is all about building and maintaining relationships with members of the media. This is an extremely specialized skill, and it’s what the Pace PR team loves to do. We’re experts at generating positive media coverage, and we’ve got the relationships and know-how to get your organization the attention it deserves. So if you’re looking for help with your media relations, get in touch with us! We’d be happy to chat.