BUSINESS & MEDIA RELATIONS
Media relation involves working with various media for the purpose of informing the public of an organization’s mission, policies and practices in a positive, consistent and credible manner. Typically, this means coordinatingdirectly with the people responsible for producing thenewsand features inthemass media. The goal of media relations is to maximize positivecoverage in the mass media without paying for it directlythroughadvertising.All organizations, whether profit-driven or charitable, must learn how toeffectively communicate who they are, their objectives, functions, andactivities
“Media” is a generic term that includes print media (newspapers andmagazines) and electronic media (TV, radio, and the Internet Many people use the terms public relations and media relations
interchangeably; however, doing so is incorrect.Media relations refer to the relationship that a company or organizationdevelops with journalists, while public relations extend that relationship beyond the media to the general public. Media relations are the practice of developing relationships with journalists and editors at media outlets.
Media relations are important for obvious reasons; media placements canextend marketing budgets, increase credibility and allow a message to spreadmuch faster than advertising alone. Not to mention, strong relationships with the media can ensure you’re able to tell your side of the story should asituation arise
The hope is that, from doing so, you will garner mediacoverage for your business or cause. In addition, establishing relationshipswith the media can ensure fair coverage should controversy arise involvingyour organization Regular media coverage of enhances the organization’s position as the lead spokesperson on Related issues. Organizations can usethe media proactively to help build their public image and reputation. Itallows access to both large and smalltarget audiencesand helps build publicsupport and mobilizing public opinionfor an organization. This is all donethrough a wide range of media and can be used to encourage two-waycommunication. Working with the media on the behalf of an organizationallows for awareness of the entity to be raised as well as the ability to createan impact with a chosen audience
Types of Media Relations
The media relation is now the lifeblood of effective public relationsTraditionally, the media was thought of as being people in charge of contentat television stations, radio stations, newspaper, popular magazines and trademagazines. Today, depending who you talk to, bloggers, and online TVstations, online radio stations, online magazines, are now considered part of the media as well. The Internet has, in a sense, democratized the media andthe way media relations are practiced.Certain types of media will be more relevant for a particular story thanothers. For example, if the story has a particularly visible element, consider contacting the local TV station. Another story will be more appropriate for print media or Internet. Do not underestimate the value of the regional press.Various methods available to will be examined on separate pages:
Pre-recorded audio and video material; Websites; Media briefings; Pressreleases; Media centre.
The media strategy
The mediastrategyis documented and implemented according to principlesagreed to by public affairs and senior management.A media policy is drawn up with responsibilities, profiles and positioning.Media activity is planned to reach target audiences in direct support of your organizational mission and goals.
Communicating & dealing with the Media
Dealing with the media presents unique challenges in that the news mediacannot be controlled they have ultimate control over whether stories pitchedto them are of interest to their audiences. Because of this, ongoingrelationships between an organization and the news media are vital. Oneway to ensure a positive working relationship with media personnel is to become deeply familiar with their “beats” and areas of interests. Mediarelations practitioners should read as manymagazines, journals,newspapers,and blogsas possible, as they relate to one’s practice.
Building Media Relations
Whenever possible, inform and update the media with interesting and positive stories. The media can enable to communicate with a wide audienceincluding potential fenders, policy makers, and the general public.
Organizations that do not have a person dedicated exclusively to communications or media relations may find it difficult to supply therequired information in a clear and timely fashion. To avoid this problem,organizations should always have some basic information statistics and
population in their country or region. Having this information on hand, andhaving a person dedicated to acting as the organization’s spokesperson, canhelp provide the quick responses that journalists need. What journalists likemost is to be provided with fast and accurate information, and the assurancethat they can count on you in the future.
Selling your story
The best way to interest the media in your story is to make it “newsworthy”. News is any information that is interesting or unusual. In order to get themedia interested, you will need to “sell” your information to journalists sothey can turn it into news. Some stories that the media are usually relativelywilling to publish include:• Opening of new facilities• Signing of agreements• National or local prizes• Appointments of officers, special committees, etc.• Presentation of new projects or corporate reports• The organization’s point of view on new laws or regulations• Technical reports, bids, diagnoses• Educational campaigns• Tributes or awards to persons or institutions
Media Relation Tools
There are many ways to present your information to the media. The choicedepends on a combination of factors, including the nature of the informationyou want to transmit, your target audience, and the media you intend to use.
Press releases are the most common and among the easiest ways for organizations to get the information they feel is important to the media
Writing a press release
Before writing a press release, you have to be clear on what the newsactually is. What is interesting to an organization may not be so interestingto the general public. You should also look at things from the audience’s perspective and make the information attractive by emphasizing somethingnew or out of the ordinary. Once you have decided your story is news, youwill need to write your press release. Gather the necessary facts and decidehow to present them clearly and concisely. The press release must answer what are known as the five “Ws”:• Who? • What? • When? • Where? • Why?Sometimes, a sixth question can be added: How?There are several elements to a successful press release:Title/headline: Try to stick to the facts. It should be short and catchy to getthe reader’s attention so he/she will keep on reading. It should express theessence of the story.Date: Always put the date of issueThe body of the press release will answer all the other questions (the “how”,“when”, “where”, and “why”). Use short sentences and cut out anyunnecessary adjectives. If you want, include background information oneither the organization itself or on the specific project the release is about.Contact name: At the end of the release, list the name, job title, businessaddress, and telephone number of the person or persons issuing the releaseso that journalists can contact them for more informationTips for writing a press release• Be specific and concise.
- Use short sentences.• The title should tell the story in a nutshell, written in the present or futuretense.• Use active verbs.• Do not use jargon or complex scientific language.• If possible, use a real person to make your story come alive to the reader.• Check spelling and make sure facts are accurate.
When information is especially innovative and important or it involves other institutions, you can call a press conference. When planning a pressconference or visit:• send out a press announcement a week in advance informing journalists of the event. Inform the press if any VIPs or government officials will beattending;• ensure that all journalists know the date, time, and where to go.• Fully brief all members of the organization who will be present during the press conference;• Carefully plan that is going to speak • after the press conference is over follow up with the journalists make surethey have all the information they need and to politely ask if and how theyare going to report on what was presented
Press kits are informational packages that contain more information than a press release, which you can give to the media at a press conference or anyother event.A press kit should include precise data such as statistics, comparativegraphs, photographs, etc.
Organizations can also prepare press kits with basic information the number of patients diagnosed in the country or region. This will help you be prepared to respond to media inquiries.
Interviews / panel discussions
If you or any member of your organization is going to speak with the media,remember the following.An interview is an opportunity to get your message across – make the mostof it. Approach the situation as an opportunity to share your positivemessage. As much as you can, try to maintain control over the direction inwhich the questions are going. Do not answer if you do not want to.Relax at your peril.Unless you have a longstanding and trusting relationship with a reporter, saynothing off the record. Give them what they need.Provide quotable phrases – that is what reporters and TV and radio hosts arelooking for.Practice what you will say.
Articles and reports
Given the large number of corporate or organizational publications thatexist, you may have an opportunity to include an article or report in amagazine, in the newsletter of another organization similar to yours, or inthe newsletter of a company that has already collaborated on your projects.
Newsletters are useful to keep the organizations internal and externalaudiences informed at the same time. They are very useful public relationstools for communicating corporate culture and involving your stakeholdersin the organization’s mission. A newsletter is not the ideal tool tocommunicate with the media. However, you may use articles from your
newsletter as a source for potential news stories that can be rewritten andcirculated as press releases.
A website can have many uses. Its principle use is as an institutional sitewhere anyone can learn about the organization and its mission. It can also beused: to attract donations and sponsorships or to recognize existing donors;• To attract volunteers and collaborators;• To provide certain services to the organization’s stakeholders;• To sensitize and educate the public, particularly the youth;• To report to and mobilize the organization’s members.
The media contacts
Cultivating and maintaining a personal relationship with key media contactsin the country or region can go a long way in helping organizations achievetheir goals.
Building and maintaining a relationship with the media is a good way for any organizations to increase awareness of and to publicize their programsRegular media coverage will position the organization as a key authority onany issue and will allow you to communicate positive and interesting storiesto a wide audience. The media can be a powerful ally. Cultivating andmaintaining a personal relationship with key media contacts in the countryor region can go a long way in helping organizations achieve their goals.