Is Media Relations your Cup of Tea?

15 July 2016

Any growing company will have a robust media relations programme in place aiding its journey in brand building. Media Relations is nothing but the process of engaging with the media to establish an image for the company and its various offerings.

At Star Squared PR we champion the cause of ‘media relations’. Having worked with a cross section of the media and also a variety of journalists representing different types of media houses spanning the length and breadth of the country, media relations is almost second nature to our team members.

Media Relations is clearly an important element of a Public Relations campaign that companies must adopt to profile themselves favorably. This typically represents the largest chunk of the work done by any agency in a PR engagement. Let us try and break this up further to understand the nitty gritty’s.

Media: Which is any type of media spanning across print, electronic, wire service, radio, online, etc. These media can be further broken up under the following –

  • Print – Dailies, Periodicals, Business, General, Broad sheet, Tabloids, etc
  • Television – Business, General, Entertainment, News Channels, Sports, etc
  • Wire Service – Local, International, English, Regional, etc
  • Online – News sites, General sites, Social media sites, Blogs, etc
  • Radio

Journalists: The journalists of course are of different seniority levels, covering different news beats such as political, business, sports, etc. Their nature again varies depending on the type of media house they represent for instance a TV channel or a news daily or a tabloid or a magazine, etc. Add to this journalists from English media and regional media will have varying preferences for information consumption.

Relationship: Represents the engagement with this group of individuals and institutions. How do you communicate with them, either by telephone to pitch a story or an interview, or sending them a press note, or inviting them to a press conference or an event, etc. All of this sums up building a rapport and engaging with the media.

Clearly the above three elements elaborate the factors in play for a Media Relations Exercise. Now considering the complexity of the process, special care must be taken to ensure the programme runs smoothly and seamlessly without offending the press or their representatives.

At Star Squared we take special care to map key media that are relevant to a particular client or category. We then go about carefully crafting messages with clients in such a way that they are meaningful to the target media. Special care is taken when pitching with the media to ensure we do not disturb them in the middle of a busy assignment. At first we try the most non-intrusive methods to reach an individual journalist and disturb them on their mobile only and only if we must.

At Star Squared we also make it a point to do our homework of researching individual journalists, particularly seniors before pitching anything with them. Special care is also taken to groom our employees on effective media relations. The art of writing good pitch notes that are compelling is another important area of media relations. I have received calls from journalists in my previous engagements, with complaints about the quality of writing, or the lack of a strong pitch, or for spamming their mail box, etc. Hence every Media Relations practitioner must understand these nuances before embarking on a Media Relations exercise.

In synopsis

Media Relations is not just another clerical task. It is an intense process involving several stakeholders who are senior influencers and decision makers at times and hence requires the necessary attention for its success.