Beyond PR

Jul 20, 2016

Media Relations Must-Dos: 10 Tips for More Earned Media

Earned Media Tips

A lot has changed since Herbert Muschel launched PR Newswire in 1954, but one thing hasn’t: The press is still a fundamental element of our society.

From mainstream media with newsrooms spread around the globe to niche publications with smaller but equally passionate staffs, today’s news outlets provide decision-driving information that reaches a diverse audience.

And as the use cases in our multichannel strategy guide show, a mix of media channels – determined by your content and the audiences you’re trying to reach – is key to achieving your communications goals.

Familiarizing yourself with the needs of the media will make your news stand out in the crowd for the right reasons. While preferences may vary from media point to point, there are a handful of traits and tips your media outreach should always follow.

Credible

A communicator’s credibility is the bedrock of their relationship with news organizations. The journalists you work with need to know and trust that you have the expertise, experience and perspective to add to their story. What you say and how you say it can make or break that credibility.

  • Know your standards: AP News Values and other codes of ethics. Learn them. Love them. Live them.
  • Be transparent: State your objective and sources early on, and provide links that direct readers to useful information. This helps with both verification and reader engagement.
  • Be consistent: Establish a consistent presence in the eyes of the press by using a regular cadence of press releases, social media and other media outreach tactics.
  • Keep learning: Guidelines change. It’s important to not only stay current with PR and marketing best practices, but also journalism best practices. For instance, follow #APStyleChat on Twitter or Storify to keep your content up-to-date with the style rules many journalists follow.

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Newsworthy

The definition of newsworthiness has changed. What a top-tier media point may not consider newsworthy could very well be newsworthy to a trade publication or social influencer. Being able to identify what is or isn’t newsworthy to a particular audience is an art you should master.

  • Be relevant: To be newsworthy, you must be relevant. To be relevant, you must know what’s going on. Monitor topics and trends in your industry, and take the time to understand how your brand can authentically add to those conversations. Learn how to connect the dots with these tips on communicating relevance.
  • Get local: Most of the media outlets you reach out to are focused on a specific audience. Even mainstream media outlets break their coverage into different beats. Target your story’s angle to the very specific interests and informational needs of that audience. As we showcased in this article about Elections 2016 content, that could mean giving a local angle to something of national importance or tying your message to a particular subtopic of a larger story making headlines.
  • Don’t be dull: Newsworthiness does not equal boring. As a brand communicator, you’re not just presenting facts, you’re telling a story. Keep it professional and respectful, of course, but have some fun. Need some ideas? Check out Content Tips for Adding Creativity in More Conservative Niches.

Proactive

It’s no secret we live in an always-on world. Media and their audiences operate 24-7-365, creating and consuming content constantly and expecting answers to questions immediately. Because of this, brands must prepare for and satisfy the needs of their audience as quickly as possible.

  • Keep it simple: Channel the tiny house trend and eliminate clutter from your press releases and pitches. Make it easier for readers to connect with your message by being judicious with the information you include and highlighting the most important details with bullets and other formatting techniques.
  • Anticipate multimedia needs: Look at the media sites you visit. It’s a requirement for nearly every news item to include some sort of visual. When planning out your press release, consider what photos, graphics and video would help the media tell your story. While the decision on what to use/not use resides with them, what you provide can at least offer inspiration.
  • Include contact info: Reporters are sorting through thousands of press releases and pitches each day. Your contact information, website and social media details are not things they should have to spend research calories on. Not including complete or accurate information can be the deciding factor in covering your story.

Finally, think of campaign efforts holistically. Today’s audiences cross-reference a mix of paid, earned, and owned channels to make their decisions. Your media outreach strategy should align with your approach to how you create and promote content for your blog, email campaigns, social media, events, etc.

This consistency will reinforce your message with your audience and increase your chances for conversion. Download Maximize the Reach of Your Message with a Strategic, Multichannel Plan and learn how to match medium(s) to the message when planning strategic news, product announcements, crisis management and other communications for your brand.

Eleanor Cates manages public interest accounts at PR Newswire. She specializes in outreach strategy for PI/government policy, higher education, healthcare & biotech, arts, charity and non-profit media sectors, and is a product champion for the PR Newswire Election 2016 product suite. Follow her on Twitter at @EllyCates and@PRNPublishing, or connect on LinkedIn.

3 Comments on Blog Post Title


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