By Jacqueline Feldman

 

media-relationsAs we’ve shared in several of our past blog posts public relations is an essential ingredient to whatever you have cooking on the content marketing grill.  PR is an excellent tool for raising brand awareness, sharing your key messages and exposing your products and services to potential customers through media coverage.  A strong media relations strategy is essentially the bread and butter of PR.  All this said, public relations practices have drastically changed in the past decade. In large part thanks to social media and the way it’s changed how people are interacting with the media. 

This means that a lot of the tried and true media relations tactics that used to work, might not yield the same results as in years past.  That’s why we wanted to focus on helping you update your media relations approach so you can achieve PR success in the social media age of PR.

Here are four ways to update your media relations approach and start to generate more buzz and leads for your business.

1. Get Personal With Journalists

Blasting out your pitch without any personalization won’t get you far. Something crucial we’ll keep reminding you of is that you are not the only person pitching reporters! To cut through the clutter, you have to make effort and do your homework before reaching out to any member of the media.  This used to mean simply reading their publication to see what they’ve recently covered.  Today, you still need to read up on their past articles but you also need to scope out the reporter’s social media platforms.  See what their posting, Tweeting, pinning, etc.  Social media can give you a fantastic insight into the reporter’s interests, up-to-the-minute stories they’ve shared and should help you shape how you plan to approach them with your pitch.  

2. Show Them Your Assets

Because reporters are inundated with pitches from thousands of PR professionals on a daily basis, you want to make things as easy as possible for them to create a story around the company, product, person or service that you’re pitching.  To help make your pitch stand out put together all of the assets you have that could help the reporter complete their story, and offer up those assets from the start.  If you have great photography or video to support your pitch, include those files in the form of a Dropbox or YouSendIt link in your email pitch so the reporter can conveniently download them.  If you have expert sources that can speak to the trend or story you’re pitching, give the reporter as much detail about them as possible. Include their bio, title, links to past media coverage to show how much value they bring to the story.  If you’re working on a new product launch, like a new App for instance, include a screen shot of the app, as something they could share with their readers to help paint a clear picture of how it works.  

3. Use Social Media To Break News and Stake Your Claim as An Industry Expert

One of the most exciting PR aspects of social media is that it gives companies the ability to break their own news, unlike in the past where we actually had to wait for a journalist to tell our compelling story.  Use your company’s blog and social media platforms to create buzz and show to the media that people care about what your company has going on.  In addition to disseminating company news, use your social media and blog as platforms to discuss trends and ideas that are important to your industry. Create content you know will draw media attention (refer back to tip #1), since you’re familiarzing yourself with key press covering your industry you should have a sense for what appeals to them.  Following this approach will not only help you gain attention from media, it should also help you successfully grow fans and followers.  Don’t only wait for people to come to you. Bring the news to them.  

4. Include Compelling Images in Your Outreach

In the past, PR pros had to solely rely on text to tell their story in a pitch. That’s obviously no longer the case today.  As it becomes more common for people to get their news from social media and blogs, members of the media are also becoming more focused on how to ensure the content they put out is as sharable as possible.  Use photos, infographics, videos and other visual content to help sell a reporter on what you’re pitching. This approach can dramatically boost the success of your media relations.  Just be aware of the file sizes of your visuals, you don’t want to be the person responsible for crashing their inbox!

Taking these four steps to update your pitching will show reporters that you’re up-to-speed on how to deliver them ideas for a news story.  Always remember to be succinct, clear and specific in terms of what you’re able to deliver and offer up an exact timeframe (or ask for their drop-dead deadline).  Have you taken steps to update your media relations approach? Do you have any additional tips to share?

Jacqueline Feldman

About the author

Jacqueline Feldman Read more articles by Jacqueline Feldman.