Jul 03, 2013

The 5 Building Blocks of a Media Relations Strategy

So, you think you know media relations. You’ve handled the tough questions, established some good relationships with key journalists and you know most of the how-tos.

But what lies beyond these tactics?

It’s the strategy. Increasingly we, as communicators, are being asked to demonstrate value and prove our worth. Having sound strategies in place is one of the sure-fire ways to do just that.

Here are some helpful tips to build a media relations strategy from the ground up:

1.     GOALS

You can’t achieve success if you don’t know what success looks like. Take some control and outline exactly what it is you’re trying to accomplish.

Your media relations goals should be directly tied to your business and communications goals. Are you trying to achieve success in a certain market? Or trying to promote a new product or service? Link your media relations goals directly to that. And make them measurable.

Maybe you need to inform your stakeholders? Educate them? Or influence them? Be specific when planning your goals and objectives. It might seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many communicators don’t take the time to outline their goals before jumping in. The key is aligning your goals to the overarching business goals.

2.       WHO ARE YOU TALKING TO?

A good PR practitioner will tell you that it’s worth determining who your audiences are. Every single one. Segmentation is vital. It’s not enough to say “news media.” You better know which publications, and which journalists you want to talk to.

If you divide your audiences accordingly, it makes it easier to determine how much influence they have on your business or in your market. And, you’ll be better able to tailor messaging that really speaks to each audience.

3.       WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?

Overall, your company will have some general messaging to align the business. And, for each campaign, you’ll need to create specific messaging to support your goals and objectives.

If you understand what your audiences need and want from you, you should be able to anticipate what kinds of information you’ll share. For your strategy, stick to three key messages that support your media relations goals. You should be able to fall back on these three if you’re ever in doubt.

4.       WHAT ARE YOU DOING and HOW ARE YOU GETTING THERE?

Tactics are the nitty gritty details of what exactly you’ll be doing to tackle your goals. Will you issue media advisories, host press conferences or get exposure for your key spokespeople during community events? What are you going to do?

How are you planning to achieve these tactics? Is it to build new relationships or nurture existing ones? It’s important to note how you’ll execute. And when? Attach some timelines and a budget to these tactics.

5.       MEASURE

Was one of your goals to increase media coverage from financial media by 20% more than last year? How will you know you achieved that? Make sure that you’ve budgeted for measurement. It’s an ongoing process and it’s the only way you’ll be able to determine success.

Having a media relations strategy in place is just good business practice. You may have mastered the art of media relations. But, at the end of the day, even if you can answer tough questions on the spot, it won’t matter unless you’re tying those media relations tactics to your business strategy.

Another fundamental aspect of a good media relations program is keeping tabs on what is being published and said about your brand and industry, and to respond quickly when needed.  MediaVantage combines potent media monitoring, measurement and workflow tools to empower your organization to be in control of the brand

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