Effective media relations campaigns begin with good stories. Storytelling is a timeless part of good media relations. For companies and brands looking to break through the clutter, storylines must engage your audience, be authentic and targeted to the correct media outlet.
As the former head of Media Relations for MillerCoors, and someone who has worked on media relations campaigns of all sizes in different industries, here are 10 tips to have a successful media relations campaign:
- Start by doing your research – Nothing bothers a journalist more than getting pitched by a PR professional who doesn’t know what they cover. Be familiar with their interests, what they have written about and who their audience is and how your story fits in. If you do your homework, and get to know reporters, pitching will become easier and more enjoyable.
- Keep your pitches short and sweet – Your pitch is a preview, not a full-length feature. Keep your message short, simple and to the point. If a reporter, influencer or blogger likes your idea, they will follow-up.
- Don’t overlook the subject line of your email pitch – Think of this as your story headline. Make sure your headline catches their attention, is straightforward and reflects the story you can deliver to the journalist.
- Personalize your pitches – A good reporter can determine if you are pitching the same story idea to everyone. This goes back to doing your research. Story angles must be original and tailored to each specific media outlet.
- Be timely – Like most businesses, today’s reporters are being asked to do more with less time and resources. They write multiple stories and cover various topics and respond best to public relations consultants who give them timely stories and get back to them quickest with sources and good information.
- Sequence your stories to move business results — Timing or placement of a story is equally important to driving the right story narrative. Consider plot points in your industry, company or brand that change the course of your story. Think about milestone events, industry conferences and other “news of the day” where you can effectively tell your story to create positive business results.
- Know your audience and what you want them to “think, feel or do differently” after seeing your story – Story narratives not only amplify your key messages but also move your target audience to take action to drive a business result. You want your story to impact attitudes and behaviors a key stakeholder feels towards your brand or company.
- Don’t forget your visuals – Visual storytelling is powerful. It involves the use of graphics, images, pictures and video to engage your audience in an effort to drive emotions and motivate them to take action.
- Be transparent & authentic – As PR professionals, we tell our clients to act this way all the time but we must practice what we preach. Give a reporter as much advanced notice as possible not only to be respectful of their time working on other stories but also to devote the proper time to your piece.
- Thank A Journalist – As long as a story is fair and balanced, it’s always a good idea to thank the reporter. Share the story on social media and tag the reporter. You’d be surprised how doing the little things can make all the difference the next time you call.
JMS Platinum Marketing Communications is one of South Florida’s premier marketing agencies. If you are looking to add media relations activities to your marketing mix, please contact us at 312-402-7167.