Media Relations

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    Media Relations

    Sections of This Topic Include

    Look Out, It’s the Media! Run! Basic Mistakes/Assumptions People
    Make 1.0

    Release Yourself from the Press Release
    Additional Guidelines for Successful Media Relations
    Additional Media Relations Resources for Nonprofits

    Also consider
    Related Library Topics

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    Look Out, It’s the Media! Run! Basic Mistakes/Assumptions
    People Make 1.0

    © Copyright Martin Keller

    In my PR career, I’ve heard some unbelievable things people have said about
    “The Media.” Things that made “The Media” out to be some
    kind of monolithic machine, the political equivalent of the Teabagger viewpoint
    about “The Government” (as if “The Government” were one
    entity. Seriously, are they mad at the Department of Agriculture, or The Business
    Transformation Office over at the Department of Defense?!)

    Still, the big bad “Media” is there to report news and if you have
    bad news, it generally will be reported in some fashion. There are ways, however,
    to diffuse the fear or anxiety of dealing with “The Media.” Some of
    these true examples hopefully underscore my point:

    1) “Are they going to look for skeletons?”

    This was asked by one worried small business owner who was going to be profiled.
    If the business desk is assigning an Investigative Reporter to your story, yes.
    However General Assignment reporters are not there to dig up the dirt and look
    for bones, they simply want your story. They don’t have another agenda. Having
    a good media kit and key messages in place to hand off to someone in the media
    puts up guardrails to help focus your business or issues on what’s important
    and positive.

    2) “Can I review the story before it’s written?”

    Hardly ever, although sometimes the rare reporter who gets really want to get
    it right, or is challenged by a complex issue about something your company does,
    or something you did, will let you review for accuracy but not content changes.
    That’s why media training in advance of interviews with “The Media”
    to stay on message is a good thing to do.

    3) “I have an event on Friday night that I would love to get some coverage
    of before that, can it happen?”

    This was asked by someone once in a cold call two days before the event. Unless
    you’ve got the president of the US or Leonardo DiCaprio at your shindig — or
    have truly invented a whizbang device that no one has ever seen before — chances
    are almost nil.

    Even with a news cycle that turns over 10 times a day or more on the internet,
    sufficient lead times are important to adhere to. Give yourself — or your PR
    person a few weeks in advance of when you want your story “out there”
    to contact the right person in “The Media” (Note: Magazines are often
    working 4-6 months ahead of real time.) Breaking News is one thing that gets
    instant coverage, but that is usually a tragedy of some sort unfolding or a
    national or international incident (although these days, a celebrity marriage
    break up or drug bust, or even a car chase in Oklahoma, unfortunately qualify).
    Investor Relations is a whole other universe, and we won’t go there today.

    4) “The Media” will make my company famous.

    Well, it could. Overall, a few stories well placed will increase your visibility,
    hopefully help drive sales and/or achieve some of the objectives you set forth
    once you engaged a PR company or put your PR strategy into motion.

    But let’s be realistic. Most overnight success stories I know of took 10 years
    of hard work. PR — as a wise friend once described it — is like drip irrigation
    in the desert: Droplets of water falling on the plant eventually produce a bloom,
    and if you’re lucky, fruit.

    5) “Can I get the photo/video/radio interview The Media?”

    Generally no. It becomes the intellectual property of the paper, television
    or radio station. You can get back copies or links of the paper you need for
    a price. And there are services to obtain DVD copies or links to something that
    ran on TV, or a radio interview. Usually all such copies come with legal guidelines
    about how the material may or may not be used. Always have your own photos on
    hand (sometimes “The Media” will request it — and maybe even your
    own b-roll — footage that tells your story in images as background, if appropriate).

    Remember, dealing with “The Media” is like dealing with other human
    beings. Sure, people working in the profession hold a power to magnify what
    you do. But the last time I checked, those doing it were like you and me, 90%


    Release Yourself from the Press Release

    © Copyright Michelle Tennant Nicholson

    Press Releases or Not?

    I’ll tell you this as gently as I can: Press releases don’t always
    work. So don’t send them out thinking they’re going to get you on
    Oprah, The Today Show, Good Morning America or CBS Early Show. A lot of people
    still think press releases are the best way to get the media to notice them,
    but to the busy media professional, press releases say: “Here’s
    something everyone is going to get at the same time as you. No scoop for you!”

    When Press Releases Work

    Now I’m not saying they don’t work for search engine optimization purposes.
    Press releases are great for that. They:

    • build links back to your site
    • build your branding and messaging online and
    • increase your credibility.

    You may want to send out press releases if you’re a corporate entity and need
    the message to be searchable on news wire services in the future. And reporters
    are not likely to ignore your press release if you have true breaking news,
    such as a plant expansion that will add hundreds of jobs in a local coverage

    Relationship Building

    But sending out press releases is not the most effective way to score the coveted
    news features that you’ll want. That is done with relationship building. Nothing
    beats “dial and smile” phone calls, personalized emails and perfect

    Organizing an online press kit with ready-to-use story ideas, quotes and background
    will help you get your message out and make it easier for the media to cover
    you. And making it easy for the media will definitely boost your odds of being
    chosen as a source in articles, TV segments and radio broadcasts.

    Social Media

    Also, with social networking sites, it’s easier than ever to build a
    buzz about your product or service. You can take your message direct to the
    audience you seek with a great website, some search engine optimization or a
    Facebook friends link.

    To score media coverage and build credibility though, there’s still no
    substitute for personal contact with your target media. Get to know them and
    make them feel special. Read their articles and tune in to their shows. Educate
    yourself on the different specialty or niche areas they cover.

    Your Story

    Dig in. Most businesses have untold stories that are interesting. It may be
    something about how they got started or how they developed a new product or
    service. So find the compelling story about your business or product.

    Then make a list of those media people you would like to cover your story and
    begin building relationships with them — send them the press release before
    everyone else gets it. Give them the scoop before you announce it to the world.
    Making the media feel special is a sure-fire way to have them come back and
    ask for more scoops from you.

    of the Trade 1: Don’t Fritter Away Your Press Release Real Estate

    lists of samples
    of press releases, product announcements, etc.

    to Write a Press Release

    Baloney: When Press Releases Go Awry (or on Rye)

    Towards Friday: Best Days to Send a News Release

    Additional Guidelines for Successful Media Relations

    the Media

    by Media – Do’s and Don’ts

    Training – A PR & Legal Perspective

    Out, It’s The Media! Run! Basic Mistakes/Assumptions People Make 1.0

    of the Trade 3: The Call

    Off the Record Can = Off You Go

    Op-Ed Pieces (Without Sounding Your Own Foghorn)

    Had Me At Hello

    Steps for Getting National Media Coverage

    Reaching out to the Media, Don’t Forget Your Backside

    Gets Pranked

    a Statement

    How to Write and Implement a Media Policy!
    Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

    Communicating with the Media
    Don’t Piss off the Press!
    Get Press! (Part One of Two)
    Get Press! (Part Two of Two)

    Also consider
    Crisis Management
    Social Networking

    Additional Media Relations Information
    for Nonprofits

    Six Simple Steps for Turning Your Organization
    into a Heavily Quoted Source

    Basic Press Outreach for Not-for-Profit and Public
    Sector Organizations

    20/20 Vision
    Five Steps to Nonprofit Messaging Success
    Help Your Colleagues and Base Become Effective

    Abstractions Make Your Nonprofit Tagline Pointless

    For activists:

    the Media: A Guide for Activists

    FAIR’s Media
    Activist Kit

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