To launch a successful media relations campaign, the first step is to ensure that your message is clear. Think about what it is you want to share with your audience and what you want them to remember. Avoid unnecessary jargon and stick to just the facts and key points.
Who would be interested?
Keep in mind that even though something seems newsworthy to you and your association, it might not be considered newsworthy to everyone. If you’re distributing a press release, remember to first determine your intended audience and build a targeted media list. Include individuals who list your association’s industry as one of their beats or have previously written about similar topics.
What’s a beat? It’s the primary focus or specific topics a writer or reporter typically covers. For example, politics, sports, entertainment, healthcare, etc.
Try to avoid sending out press release blasts to large groups—doing this does not increase your odds for landing coverage. Targeting specific writers and editors interested in your industry and familiarizing yourself with the types of articles they write, does!
Identify a spokesperson
Before pitching to the media, identify a leader within your association who can participate in interviews and speak on behalf of your organization. Be sure that he or she is prepared by providing a spokesperson guidebook, outlining key messages, talking points, sound bites, and tips for responding to tough questions.
If you build it, they will come
Your first attempt (and even your second) may not yield instant results and land you coverage, but keep in mind that’s how media relations is different from advertising—it’s not guaranteed placement. However, if you do your research and are targeting relevant writers, you will begin to build a reputation for your association, positioning it as the leader in the industry.
Soon you’ll be fielding requests for interviews and making headlines because your association is known as the industry’s go-to, credible resource.
That’s what media relations is all about: creating and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with the media.