Public relations (PR) is much more than solely engaging with journalists, but for many organizations working effectively with the media remains the cornerstone of their PR programs and strategies.
The dynamics of effective media relations are more-important than ever before, and they continue to change before our eyes. As media organizations shrink, as fake news seemingly takes centre-stage more often, and as journalists have more space to fill with fewer resources on news cycles that operate in minutes, understanding every aspect of media engagement can give organizations of any size an edge over competitors and peers.
Engaging effectively with media – with the journalists, the organizations that commission content from them, and the organizations that employ them – pays quick dividends to the reputation and awareness of organizations, educates audiences about products and services, and can be very cost-effective when compared with alternative marketing communications options – if you know what you’re doing, if you understand the media you deal with, and if you know how your engagement is performing.
Five steps for working effectively with the media
SMBs and startups can deploy PR and media relations strategies as effective as their much-larger competitors. Here are five steps to take to kick-start your media relations program:
1. Be clear about your objectives
Do you want to sell more products and services, do you want to attract great talent, do you want in-bound investment, or do you want to influence carefully-targeted individuals or organizations (such as the government)? These are not mutually-exclusive choices: you can choose any number of these options, but each deserves and demands its own strategies, and all operate on different timetables.
2. Understand the media landscape
Are you talking mostly with freelance journalists, major news outlets, or specialist blog outlets? What are their readerships? Who has the most-influence, and how trusted are the journalists and their outlets? And who reads or consumes their content – your ultimate audience?
3. Understand the differences between owned media, earned media and paid media.
Owned media is under your control because you own it. Owned media includes your website, your social media channels (your organic content in particular). With careful planning you can create owned media content to which journalists and other media influencers can turn, either for raw material or to quote, and you should link to your own media content in your media announcements.
Earned media is content written about your organization by others – journalists and other influencers especially. It’s less under your control, but creates strong validation for your brand position and point of difference. Note: Earned Media is not about paying tame writers to say or write nice things about you or your organization. Earned media is about other people of influence being sufficiently interested in what you have to offer, and in what you have to say. This is why working effectively with the media is so important.
Paid media is content that you pay to serve to readers or viewers (essentially digital and social advertising). Paid media is completely under your control – but this content has to work in very different ways to other media if it is to deliver results. and of course, it costs.
Today’s digital and social business world means that all forms of media mesh and interact with each other. Once your objectives (see point 1) are clear, work out how you can resource and deploy your media relations program across all media types. If budgets are small, focus on earned and owned. Understand how one media type (e.g. owned) can support another (e.g. earned) and how (for example) earned media can result in great paid media content
The days of “measuring coverage” are over. What counts is engagement, impressions, opportunities to see content, and the time consumers are prepared to take to consume content (and to share it with their networks). The networks of journalist and influencers are important – not just on how large they are, but in the nature of who these followers and connections might be.
The Digivizer platform is designed to provide a single view of the performance of paid, owned and earned media across the main social and digital channels, and even without a paid program, it will still provide you with early insights into earned media performance especially.
Working effectively with the media can be complex and time-consuming. It makes sense to be be able to understand and analyse who really is important to your organization, and to know where they in turn go for their information.
We’re working to ensure the best of our technology is made available for the lowest per month price so it can be available to all businesses. For US$89 per month, you’ll have all your owned, earned and paid social and search media data and insights at your fingertips.
You deserve to get the best out of your digital spend and we have the tools that remove the stress and pain from the process!
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Author: Alan Smith / Head of Strategic Business Communications at Digivizer