As PR practitioners, it’s our job to ensure that our clients get coverage in leading publications that their target end-users and other stakeholders read. One of the best methods for getting that coverage is to forge relationships with key reporters; also known as media relations.
There are a number of ways to engage with the media members that cover the products or services that your company offers. The most important things to keep in mind when conducting media relations is to not be overly aggressive when reaching out to reporters and to ensure that they do in fact cover the space your company plays in.
There are some simple but effective ways to guarantee that you’re reaching out to the correct reporter. First, you can simply pull-up a list of articles that they have written over the last month. Second, you can check-out their LinkedIn profile. Often, many reporters will include a brief summary of the topics they cover and trends in the industry that they are looking to write about. Lastly, you can follow reporters on Twitter to get a sense of their attitudes on the subjects that pertain to your clients’ work. If you’re lucky, you may find that reporters occasionally tweet when they are looking to feature a particular story idea or are in need of an industry expert.
Once you’ve taken these initial investigative steps, you’re ready to begin the engagement process with the media. The most obvious first step is to reach out over email. Once you’ve found an appropriate reporter, it’s fine to simply send an introductory email telling him or her about your company, its offerings, and your availability to provide analysis on various trends in the industry. Many times, success in this outreach is all about timing. For example, a good way to make this initial introduction is when a big event in your industry happens. About ten years ago when we first got started in the data center sector, the Environmental Protection Agency announced the release of a new report on data center efficiency and began the process of creating wide ranging guidelines. We used this opportunity to secure coverage for the data center airflow experts that we were working with in a number of publications, including: The Wall Street Journal, eWeek and The Boston Business Journal.
Another way of engaging with relevant reporters is to attend the trade shows where they are likely to make an appearance at. Although many reporters are scaling back on trade show attendance, this is a great opportunity to get face time and connect on a personal level. If you have a booth, you have a natural meeting place and an opportunity to demonstrate your product and what it can deliver. It also doesn’t hurt to have a customer standing by for a ready-made case study.
Lastly, engaging with reporters on social media is a great way to start conversations and help answers the questions they might have with regard to your industry. While it’s probably not a good idea to send a friend request on Facebook, engaging these folks on Twitter is a great way to get a discussion going and ensure that you’re on their radar when relevant news breaks.
With the abundance of technology at our fingertips, you have the power to engage reporters throughout the world through a number of platforms. While the items highlighted above are just a start, they provide the basic steps your company can begin implementing immediately.
If you’re looking to discuss media relation strategies further, please let us know. There’s never a bad time to begin learning more about this important topic.
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