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2017

Proactive Media Relations Gains Media Attention

It’s a new year and time to determine how you can gain media attention and credibility without spending too much money on advertising. 

Your business can generate a considerable amount of good will, customer loyalty and new business by being media proactive. So what does that involve?

First, it requires leadership commitment. Leaders need to be available to media with company news and expertise. This includes: highlighting unique projects and services; promoting operations and activities distinctive to your business; announcing new hires; changes and promotions; and, positioning company leaders as thought leaders in the community and in your industry.

Media need sources to do their work. By offering your company’s expertise and insight to comment and react to events that affect your sector, you build lasting relationships with reporters and editors. Once that relationship is developed, it is important to continue to contact them to maintain and build that relationship. 

And how is a proactive media relationship created? It is developed through a strategic and effective proactive media relations plan.  

  1. Plan your media relations activities. Identify your company’s unique activities, project milestones and significant industry events and happenings for 2017.  Timing is key. If media are given sufficient lead time – your chances of media coverage increases.
     
  2. Research and review past and current media and social media coverage including articles on your industry and sector to evaluate the conversations and factors that affect your business. List the media outlet and journalist(s) (including social media channels) and type of coverage (good, bad or neutral). Knowing who the media source is and what the issues they write about allows you to effectively reach out to them to establish a relationship.
     
  3. Identify your goal for your media relationship. Is it to promote a new product or service, highlight company changes or is it to provide expert commentary or analysis?
     
  4. Determine your message and your story. Ensure it is relevant, accurate and easily understood. It’s your job to pitch the story so it sounds interesting and timely.
     
  5. Take the time to prepare your media spokespersons. Invest in media training to assist your spokespersons with interview settings. It helps teach them what to expect—and how to deal with the unexpected—so that they can stay in control and present your business.
     
  6. Contact the journalist and introduce yourself and your company. Let them know that you are available throughout the year to help keep them informed of what is happening in your industry or sector. Make the task of covering your industry issues easy. Be useful and become a source they can rely on. Offer them background information, images, industry reports. This builds trust, respect and brand visibility of your company and industry. Give them your contact information – your cell number and direct email address—confirm you are the “go to” person for comment, background information and to help clarify an issue.

Developing and maintaining a proactive media relations program takes work. But media are an important channel to reach your audience and with careful nurturing, you will see that it will certainly pay dividends.

Janet Weichel McKenzie

Janet is an Ottawa based marketing and communications specialist at The Hillbrooke Group. She has 20 years of strategic communications experience in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.  Janet can be reached at 613-808-4642 or via email at jweichelmckenzie@hillbrooke.ca

Media need sources to do their work. By offering your company’s expertise and insight to comment and react to events that affect your sector, you build lasting relationships with reporters and editors. Once that relationship is developed, it is important to continue to contact them to maintain and build that relationship.