Videojournalist

How to Build Strong Media Relations

Every good public relations professional recognizes the importance of fostering relationships with bloggers and reporters who cover your organization. Developing these relationships takes hard work and mutual understanding. Below are some key tips and suggestions inspired by Carol Howard and Wilma Mathews authors of the best selling book, On Deadline: Managing Media Relations.

Understand the Industry

 

A journalist’s life is often dictated by fast deadlines. In the 24hr news cycle there are publication schedules that must be met. Deadlines are set by editors for both print and online formats. These deadlines must be met on schedule. To assist journalists, you must be able to meet their deadlines. Meeting deadlines often means responding within the same day, sometimes within a few hours. For example, there are many same day requests that appear on the publicity tool, Help a Reporter Out (HARO).

Part of understanding the industry is learning the deadlines for media outlets who routinely cover your clients. If you are pitching to a new media contact, a help desk worker will be more than happy to tell you the deadlines for specific beats and editions. After learning the deadlines, make sure to record your findings and keep an updated file with this information. Although you can rely on paid services such as CisionPoint, having an offline local file will guarantee quick access and ensure you never miss a deadline again.

Start with the Media Release

 

Beyond deadlines, many PR novices think a media release is the only tactic necessary to secure media coverage and foster good relationships. Start thinking of a media release as an invitation. It invites the journalist to conduct follow-up research about the topic, contact third-parties, ask you questions and then rewrite the media release to meet the demands of an editor.

After submitting your media release don’t be afraid to follow-up with the journalist. If you submitted your materials before a deadline and haven’t heard back send an email. Keep the email brief and to the point. If you do not receive an immediate response, it doesn’t mean the journalist isn’t interested. Believe it or not they are working on more than just your story.

It takes time to develop a story, even from a well written media release. Knowing deadlines and timing the distribution of media releases will go a long way in helping foster those media relationships.

Be Accessible, Be Informed

 

Communication is key in public relations. You should not hesitate to give journalists your mobile number. Encourage journalists to call, and anticipate follow-up conversations.

“When I get a pitch about a new product, I will check to see if it’s available locally. If I can’t find out the info from the website, I’ll respond with that question (or with other questions about the product) and about half the time, the email goes unanswered,” said Lesley Lassiter, blogger for lesleyeats.com.

If you are working with on a team project, remind your fellow colleagues that media outlets will often call to request more information. Ensure that everyone is on the same page by providing talking points, lists of anticipated questions, and agreed upon points of contact.

Prepare for the Aftermath

 

A final consideration involves how to handle errors in a published story. Although it is human nature to play the blame game, firing off a letter to the editor can quickly destroy even the most steadfast relationship with a journalist. Before you contact the party responsible (never jump rank and start with the Editor in Chief), make sure you evaluative the severity of the error. If the error is minor it will probably be overlooked by the majority of consumers. If the error does require correcting, it is your job to courteously inform the reporter and explain problem.

A quick email or call to the reporter clearly stating the error(s) and correction(s), can in most cases fix the problem. On rare occasions you might have to write a letter to an editor or ask for a printed correction. These occasions are subjective and require a thorough analysis of the situation.

No media event or press kit can replace years of work in developing good media relations. With a bit of hard work and dedication you can apply these helpful tips and be on your way in improving communication with your own media contacts. If you can think of another helpful suggestion please comment below.

Atmospheir

Atmospheir: Your New Address Book

The Address Book 1.0

Everyone uses an address book. It’s a valuable cache of essential contact information that helps us connect to our family, friends, and colleagues. While we rely on address books everyday, our standard Web 1.0 address book apps (think Apple Address Book and Microsoft Outlook) are bulky, and unintuitive.

The primary downside to these address books? You must manually enter and update information for each contact. What happens when a contact changes phone numbers, Facebook profiles, or Twitter names? You are left with no option but to engage in time-consuming Internet searches. What is the Solution?

Atmospheir: The Smart Address Book

Enter the smart address book. Smart address books have the potential of changing the way we manage our personal and professional relationships. These address books are designed with the Web. 3.0 in mind and have the ability to “pull” in information from a number of different media platforms, including social network sites, automatically updating information about your contacts.

A number of apps (Smartr Contacts, and Addappt) have attempted to integrate social media and standard contact information, however, none have captured the public’s attention and have seen wide spread adoption.

A new app, Atmospheir, may completely break through this adoption barrier. Atmospheir is essentially a smart address book with a focus on relationship management through social media. “…it is the first application that aims to address all stages of the contact management life cycle: creation, storage, expansion and retention,” said CEO Matt Crumrine,

Atmospheir has several interesting features that meet the needs of Web 3.0 users including perpetual updates, varying access modes, privacy and location specific tools. These tools make your current address book look like a rolodex.

New Tech, New Issues

While the primary advantage of smart address books is the ability to receive perpetual updates and connect all your media platforms, it is also the downside. A major element of relationship management is the ability to control the flow of information. For example, you might want to share your Facebook profile with friends, but do not want potential employers to have access. The winner of the smart address book wars will be the app that can balance the privacy vs. access issue.

With the advantages offered by smart address books it might be time for those Web 1.0 address books to rest in peace. Will Atmospheir be the winner? Only time will tell.