Associate of Communications, Ari Neugeboren shares four lessons PR pros should utilize when tasked with a media relations campaign to set you up for the highest chance of success.
As a communications professional, I work with clients who want to earn top-tier media coverage for their issue space, whether it be a story idea, a source they can offer, an op-ed written by the client themselves, or other earned media exposure. Below are four lessons PR pros should utilize when tasked with a media relations campaign to set you up for the highest chance of success.
Build cohesive media lists for specific pitches
When attempting to earn media coverage for a client, communicators undergo a process called ‘pitching’ – this is when you ‘pitch’ journalists through high-level, persuasive writing, positioning your client as a thought leader in a journalist’s covering space. In order to ‘pitch’ successfully, however, communicators need to reach the right reporters. This is done through media lists. Communicators compile lists of journalists covering certain topic areas they want to reach. Comprehensive lists should contain print reporters, TV journalists, editors, trade reporters, and more.
Brand your client as an asset to a journalist
Clients with expertise in a topic can often make a journalist’s job easier. Every client is unique and brings their expertise to an issue, and reporters can benefit from that through accessible, immediate sourcing and background knowledge on a topic. Thus, it’s important to tell a reporter WHY they would benefit in speaking to your client, and how it will make their stories more insightful.
Be persistent, but polite, courteous, and respectful
Journalists are bombarded with story pitches, so it can be difficult to stand out or break through the many emails reaching journalists’ inboxes. That’s why it is imperative to be persistent in pitching and follow up frequently to help get noticed. That said, maintaining politeness – through always wishing journalists a good day, asking how they are, and thanking them for their valuable time – is always a smart strategy when pitching, and always remove a contact from a list if they request.
Keep in touch – once a placement is landed, maintain a relationship with that journalist
Often the best media coverage comes from the same reporters repeatedly talking with a spokesperson once and benefited from that prior conversation. That’s why once an interview is secured, a story idea accepted, or a source published, it is important to maintain close contact with that reporter and offer to help in the future. This relationship can be molded into a professional partnership with both the reporter and spokesperson standing to benefit long term.
Reach out to Ari at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss media relations strategies. You can also find him on LinkedIn.