Don’t trust the media!
I’ve heard this a million times and I’m not sure if it’s due to the over exaggerations we see in the movies of the aggressive reporter hiding in the bush, or if it is due to a bad past experience. Either way, I’m going to try to help you see the benefits that can come from working with the media.
During my days in the media, I would often call individuals to inquire about different topics and be greeted on the other end by someone who was absolutely terrified to speak with me.
Maybe it was a fear of speaking on TV or on the radio, or maybe they just didn’t want to have their picture in the paper. Either way, it made me wonder what the possibilities would have been had they not shown such objection.
If fact, strong relationships with members of the media can be a huge benefit to your business or organization. Many companies spend hours strategizing on how to get media coverage. That’s because PR is often viewed as being way more credible than paid advertising.
So I’ve compiled 5 things for you to consider in your attempt to build better media relations:
1. Learn who makes up the media – The first thing you need to do is create a media list and determine who you want to get to know. Most businesses already have these lists, but not many know the journalists on the list personally. In fact many businesses just send emails with press releases attached without ever really taking the time to get to know the reporters on the receiving end. That leads to my second point……
2. Build real relationships – The goal is to make authentic connections with members of the media. Remember, the media is not the enemy. In fact, most are just like you – just trying to go to work each day and do their job. They are open and willing to build relationships too.
3. Learn about their job – Find out what journalists do on a daily basis. Get an understanding of their deadlines and responsibilities.
4. Create a win/win relationship – Offer to assist and provide insight on subjects when opportunities come up. Many journalists keep a list of names of people they can contact for comments or analysis on different subjects. Even if you don’t offer your services, most journalists end up calling on people they have relationships with. You too can be of assistance!
5. Be realistic – It is important to remember that even though you have taken the time to get to know members of the media on a personal level, at the end of the day, they still have a job to do. A journalists first responsibility is to present an unbiased perspective of the story. If you acknowledge this and still maintain a strong relationship regardless of how the story is written, you will be much further ahead!
Good luck and remember, the media is your friend!