By Shelby Ray, Account Executive at HMA Public Relations, our PRGN partner in Phoenix
Public relations practitioners understand the effectiveness of media relations, but these efforts may not always be valued by their clients because it isn’t fully understood. Some professionals must spend time explaining how media relations works and why it’s effective in reaching company goals.
The Importance of Media Relations to Businesses
Media relations helps businesses on many fronts, but one of the reasons it’s important is because of the strong brand awareness it builds. To reach a shared understanding of it’s value, let’s talk a look at the 5 greatest benefits of media relations:
When a third party quotes an expert or mentions a company doing good work, it gives credibility to that person or brand. It’s like word of mouth or a referral from a friend. It’s understood that the third party, for instance a reporter, did their research and is pleased to report back to the public. It’s also understood that the brand must have been doing something extraordinary in their work to have caught the eye of a reporter. While many companies frequently do good work and there are many experts in every field, this exposure doesn’t often happen by chance. It happens through proactive media relations.
2. Reaching audiences
There are almost too many ways to reach an audience in today’s world. There are blogs for just about every hobby, interest, field and industry; many newspapers and magazines have additional online articles that are not included in print issues; and social media requires a strategy of its own to reach targeted audiences. Thankfully, PR pros have it down ‘to a T’ and can map out a strategy of which outlets to target. Technology and the way a consumer uses it coupled with traditional media outlets opens the door for being able to send a message to just about any audience.
3. Share your story
A company is aware if it has a superb work environment, but those on the outside may not know of its long history of community involvement, its fun work culture, or anything else that makes your business great. When someone from the outside can step in and tell a brand’s story, that offers consumers a new perspective. They may only know of a company’s great product, but if that company’s story is told, that could drive consumers to want to be a loyal customer. Looking for tips to tell your brand story? Here are five easy media relations tips to help you do just that.
4. Control your crisis
When a crisis occurs, media relations will and should be used. Transparency and timely responses are key during a crisis. Whether something is about to go public or just did, it’s important to craft a statement and get that out to the media as soon as possible. If a company reaches the reporter before the reporter reaches out or publishes a story, it’s an opportunity to control what message is being relayed.
5. Build beneficial relationships
Since working in PR, I have built a network of contacts in the media. They know to contact me when in need of a particular source, and they know that my exchanges with them will be specific to their beat, so they are willing to hear what I have to say. These relationships are mutually beneficial for the media and my clients. Without those relationships, it might be more difficult to get my email read or get more than 30 seconds on the phone with a news assignment desk. Working on starting and maintaining relationships with reporters can ensure you have key media contacts for years to come.
There are many benefits of media relations when done proactively, which is why it is so important to spend time assessing the needs and desired outcomes of media relations.
What do you consider to be the most important aspects of media relations? Comment below or tweet @HMA_PR.
This blog was originally posted on the HMA PR website.