Media relations and new media — what’s different and what isn’t?

Media Relations

Media relations opportunities have greatly expanded. With nearly all publications having a print and online version of each issue, e-newsletters that get distributed daily or weekly, blogs and information repositories on the websites, a reporter’s need for quality information to share with his or her readers is insatiable.

What hasn’t changed is a reporter’s desire to convey a story with a degree of exclusivity. Reading the publications you are targeting and understanding the audience from the reporter’s point of view will help you create unique storylines for publications.

Information sharing
Send reporters your case studies, white papers, product releases, research results, photographs and videos. Be sure your content is reliable, appropriate and factual — that rule isn’t likely to ever change, nor would we want it to. You want to be a respected resource and in good standing with the media. Be accessible to reporters when they call — this means as soon as possible and within the same day. If you don’t know the answer to a question, either offer to find the answer or refer them to someone who can provide it. It is a team effort — you need them and they need you.

Optimizing content
Optimize your content for online sharing with live links to images, videos, more in-depth research reports, product information and the like. This helps reporters with their due diligence and the same holds true for readers. Mobile technology demands an easy, reader-friendly linking strategy that keeps the viewer engaged. Whether a user is using a computer, tablet or phone, the information you submit should provide links to the depth of information readers need. Use online distribution service bureaus to get your information to interested parties.

Accessible information
A best practice that I have always encouraged is the creation of a company press kit. Providing a factual document on the company reduces the amount of research and time a reporter may need to spend. It also improves the margin of error by giving the reporter a factual document to go by. A company press kit should be easily accessible online along with images of founders, products and other helpful graphics. Reporters work on tight deadlines so anything you can do to minimize their time in telling your story, the better.

Create your own content
One of the biggest changes the Internet brought to the public relations profession is the ability for businesses to publish information of its own. Today, businesses can start online publications, which generally begin with blogs and enewsletters and include social media such as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter among others. Web and social media sites are repositories of information about products or services, success stories, white papers, press releases, videos, PowerPoint presentations and so on. Limiting access to this information hinders online engagement. Instead provide a snip-it or synopsis of unrestricted information to enhance trust and engagement before requiring personal information for full access. Add social media sharing buttons to your sites to make it easy for people to share your information within their social media circles.

Open communication
Having and maintaining relationships with reporters is still important. Consider the media as you would your most influential client. It takes effort to get noticed and once you do, the courtship has only just begun. Stay in touch and keep media contacts “in the know.” They may not always be interested in what you send their way, but they will appreciate you keeping them informed.