Great Tips for Running Successful Media Relations Campaigns

Media relations can be one of the strongest tools in a company’s marketing toolbox, especially when effectively executed. But is it right for every brand? The answer is yes!

Is this newsworthy? Now what?

The first step to securing earned media is identifying newsworthy story ideas. You might be wondering – what is it that makes a story “news” and how can you capitalize to raise awareness of your brand? We got some firsthand experience in this recently, in securing more than 80 media hits over three months for our client Jewish Women’s Foundation of the Greater Palm Beaches.

Based on that success and others, we’ve rounded up our top 5 tips for an effective media relations campaign.

  • Search high and low. Every brand has a story to share. Often it is easy to identify the expected news, such as the hiring of a new CEO or the launch of a new product or site. But it is helpful to look for less obvious news, too. And don’t be afraid to create news. For example, an employee might be doing something great for the community – definitely something to share. Opportunities to create news include being aware of media trends and aligning your brand in a creative way. For example, are there opportunities for coverage around holidays, sporting events or even National Hamburger Day (there is literally a day for everything!). Creating events open to the public are also easy and timely reasons to push out calendar listings, pitches and brand messaging.
  • Know thy self. Knowing the ins and outs of your brand, customers, and employees is critical to maximizing your media potential. It is possible to secure the same story in several different media outlets by taking a deep dive into all the elements. Consider asking yourself:

    • Who is quoted in this story and where do they live? Is there a local paper to pitch, as well as a broader regional publication?
    • What is at your core? Is there a nonprofit element? A business angle?
    • Consider "Would this make for a great TV segment"?
  • Come prepared. Newsrooms are shrinking and that means reporters have to pass on some stories due to a lack of time and resources. Don’t let that happen to your story. Be thorough with enough details and elements to make your story stand out. Draft a press release including all the key elements – who, what, where, when and why – and definitely include photos. Visuals can often make or break a story moving forward. They also serve to grab a reader’s attention and give your story more prominence. Be sure your images are high resolution, interesting and appropriately labeled.
  • Know the media. Before sending your story out to key contacts, be sure to know who they are, their beat and why you think they would be interested in the news you are sharing. Journalists and influencers are inundated with story ideas. One of the best ways to capture their attention is to do your homework by identifying something of interest to their readers and followers.
  • Timing is everything. In media relations, as in life, timing is everything. This one can get a little tricky, depending on your story and what outlet you are trying to secure. For example, if you are wanting magazine coverage, it is important to know that magazines work at least three months in advance. Hoping for a TV spot in advance of an event or want TV to cover something in real time? Pitch them early and often, with the understanding that it is often tough for them to commit since they are sensitive to breaking news.

Media relations can bring significant value – and return on investment – to any brand, but not without thoughtful execution. Enjoy these tips, but if you’re still feeling a little overwhelmed, give us a shout – we’d be happy to support your next campaign.