Nine tips for effective media relations

Wouldn’t it be great to build a successful brand by partnering with the media. Well, with the right media relations strategy, this is possible.

In my role as a public relations account manager at Flow Communications, I am responsible for media relations for many of Flow’s clients. This entails raising awareness about different brands and connecting them with the relevant target audiences through different media channels.

Flow Communications continues to partner with the local, national and international media to build brand awareness for its clients.

Here are our nine tips for ensuring effective media relations:

  1. Media relations strategy: before writing and pitching a brand’s or company’s story to the media, it is important to first have clear and realistic objectives about what and why you need to communicate and who your target audience is, and to set measurement targets. This will assist you to determine which channels to use, and to produce clear messaging that will reach the right target audience.
  2. Dedicated content writers:once you have a clearly defined media relations strategy, it is good to have a dedicated content writer other than a media relations specialist who will write compelling and newsworthy content, including eye-catching media releases.
  3. Build relationships with the media:as part of your media relations, it is important to build relationships with key media. This takes time, but could make the media more amenable to publishing your stories. This, in turn, builds a brand’s credibility, which can assist in attracting new clients or customers.
  4. Media database:creating a dedicated media list with the relevant media contacts helps to ensure that you are sending the media release to the appropriate individuals who will find it interesting and possibly publish it or request an interview. It is also important that the media list is updated often, as journalists tend to move between publications and other media outlets.
  5. Media spokesperson:it is good for brands to have fully trained media spokespeople who will navigate media interviews. At Flow Communications, we offer media training to guide individuals in how to deal with media.
  6. Media pitching:when pitching to the media, it is important to ensure that your pitch is compelling and relevant to that specific media outlet. It is advisable to do ample research beforehand to ensure that a similar topic has not already been covered in the same way in the recent past.
  7. Track your media mailing list:having software that allows you to track who has read the media release or has unsubscribed will ensure that your list is kept up to date. It also means you don’t keep pitching to people who have indicated that they do not want to receive further communication from you.
  8. Media feedback:always take note of the feedback you receive from the media, as this will help in structuring future content.
  9. Measuring success:it is advisable to have tools and metrics to measure the success of the media relations objectives; this will also help to establish whether you have managed to reach the relevant target audience and achieved a return on investment for the brand in question.

Khaya Thwala is an account manager at Flow Communications, one of South Africa’s leading independent agencies. Founded in 2005, Flow now has a permanent team of more than 65 professional staff, working remotely across South Africa.

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