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Media Relations 101: Getting Coverage that Counts

February 4, 2019 Kensington Wieland

Think about the last time you read about a new restaurant opening, heard about a concert coming into town or were told which new book to put on your list for 2019. There’s a good chance that all of those made their way into your world via a publicity pitch in someone’s inbox. Public relations, unlike marketing or advertising, is a mutually beneficial, unpaid partnership that connects an organization with the public via stories in the news media. As a public relations practitioner, coming up with these authentic and exciting ways to reach audiences is the fun part, but getting them into the right hands is the challenge. Feeling like an amateur when it comes to getting your big ideas seen and heard? Start with these three tips:


1. Do Your Research

There are two types of research you’ll want to do to make your media relations matter. First, do a thorough analysis of your target audience. What are they reading, watching, listening to? Where do they get their news? What is their most used app? This information will help you identify who you can contact to help get your message directly to your ideal audience. Next, begin to research exactly who can help you the most. Does your audience favor the New York Times Entertainment section? Then don’t send your pitch email to the Technology editor! You may roll your eyes, but you’d be surprised how often that occurs. The right pitch to the right person = magic.


2. Get Outside Your Own Head

Just like it’s essential to pitch to the correct people, it’s equally as important to make sure your email piques the interest of the journalist you are reaching out to. Media outlets get hundreds of emails just like yours per day. How will you ensure they open yours? Consider what you would find interesting if you received it in your inbox. Do certain subject lines compel you to open an email or ignore it? What article titles do you instinctively click on when browsing the internet? Instead of focusing on writing the most detailed, professional pitch, aim to be the most unique. Even if the writer is not interested, they will appreciate that you took the time to write a thought-provoking pitch.


3. Provide Value

You’ve crafted the perfect pitch, analyzed the most marvelous subject lines and collected your prized list of journalists, but you aren’t getting any replies. Are you thinking about what you need or what they need? Remember, it is not a journalist’s job to meet your needs, but to meet the needs of their readers, viewers or listeners. . When crafting any communication to the media, first consider how you can help them, not just how they can help you.

Media is an integral part of our everyday life and shapes the way we think, work and communicate. With a medium so powerful, investing the time and effort into media relations is a partnership that is sure to pay off.

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