Media relations is the most critical tool a PR specialist need to develop to disseminate company updates / information in a very credible manner which is positive as well as consistent.
The word media relations and public relations are used interchangeably but that’s not correct. On one hand where media relations refers to the relationship that an organisation builds with the journalists, on the other hand public relations helps to extend these relationships beyond the media to the reach of public. Typically media relations means directly coordinate with people who are responsible for producing the news and feature in the mass media.
The goal of media relations is to maximise positive coverage in the mass media. The communication between the media and organisation can be initiated from either of the sides. However dealing with media has its own challenges. They have the ultimate control that the stories pitched by them are of audience interest and that is why the media and organisation relationships are very vital.
Working with the media on behalf of an organisation demands the awareness of the entity as well as the ability to create an impact with audience. However there are some blunders which are made frequently which can be avoided:
1. Right story, wrong target
In large PR Firms, there is a set media lists available and new kids on the block are given those and asked to follow up. Never call up a journalist without knowing about him and the type of stories he writes; research his stories and profile before following up. It always help. A good story given to the wrong target, kills it!
2. Never pitch a press release, pitch a story
The PR professionals call up journalists and say, “Sir I have sent you are release, please check it”; however do not talk about the story. Always talk about the story rather than the release
3. Being unwilling to adjust the angle of stories:
Media people generally tend to change the focus of the story a bit in order to make it appealing for their audience or something which they care about. Usually this means making a story less about blowing your own trumpet and more about something which has general interests. So even if the story demands a bit of change you should not be unwilling to do so or make a bad communication due to this.
4. Writing ineffective press releases
A bad press release straight away goes to the trash. Hence ensure your press release have an interesting headline that instantly grab the editors attention and focus; the body copy of the press release needs to be meaty and substantiate with facts and figures.
5. Creating hype without much news value
Offering a bunch of hype with no substance is never a good idea. Remember, you are dealing with news media and they want only facts, statistics and concrete information so for your own benefit just tone it down a few notches.
6. Do not staying in touch
In most of the firms we see that they contact media only when there is an event or any need. In between there is absolutely no contact made. Something which we can hardly call a “relationship “. Stay in the awareness of your contacts by sending them “nice to meet you” or “thankyou” notes or may be any other complimentary note when they write something you enjoy so that they know you enjoy reading all the articles, not the ones just for your firm.
7. Not taking “no” healthily
Nobody likes to get rejected but then that’s a huge part of media relations. There is a thin line between properly pushing your stories and bearing unbearable responses for the same. So when you are flat-out rejected or you are asked not to call again, stop following up while you are still ahead.
8. Failing to reciprocate
All the relationships including media are two way relationships. Whenever they contact you for some sort of help, even if it doesn’t serve your interest, make sure you don’t fail to accommodate them.
9. Being afraid to follow up
Remember media persons are dealing with hundreds of tasks at once so there is nothing wrong in following up. Just be straight forward with what you want and how you want.
So above are some common blunders made by the media and the organisation both which eventually disrupts a good going relations between the two professionals. Keeping a check on the blunders will certainly pave the way for a strong and healthy work relations.